SEPA Direct Debits are live

SEPA Xero Direct DebitEurope have been big on account-to-account payments for many years.  With the introduction of the Euro currency and the “Eurozone” banking integration, it is now possible to use Direct Debits to collect funds from a customer’s bank account from almost anywhere in Europe.  The “Single Euro Payments Area” (or SEPA) system uses a common XML file format (we just love standardisation!) that most banks in the Eurozone will accept.

Unfortunately it is an Upload type that you have to manually upload to your bank’s online banking system (we would prefer a direct API approach) – but beggars can’t be choosers here!  uCollect will email you when you have collections to initiate, and once you have downloaded the XML file for your bank uCollect will mark your invoice as paid in Xero.


Stripe Integration – automatically collect your Xero invoices using Stripe

stripe Xero automatic chargeXero has had a Payment Gateway for Stripe available for a while now – and it works nicely.  Stripe is a great tool for small businesses wanting to collect credit card payments.  Their fixed fees and no monthly charges can actually make it cheaper than using traditional gateways or Paypal – not to mention significantly easier!!

So we knew that getting Stripe working with uCollect was a high priority – in fact, we expedited this over several other features and gateways as we knew it would be great for many businesses all over the world!

Now you can use Stripe to automatically collect your Xero invoice payments on the due date.  To do this we need to know your Stripe Live Secret Key (from your Stripe Dashboard) – enter this into the Payment Gateway definition screen under Edit Organisation.  Once you have setup the gateway then you can assign Stripe as the collection method for any contact.  When assigning them you can either select an existing Customer from the Stripe database, or create one on the fly (and enter their Credit Card details).  uCollect does not store the credit card detail in our system – we send it direct to Stripe who returns to us a customer token that we use to initiate collections from.  It’s completely secure.

Stripe is available in USA, Canada, Australia and most of Europe (sorry Kiwis – not in NZ yet).  If Stripe is not available in your country then please go to this page and ask them to get on it!!


Improvements to the way we handle Upload types

In release 1.1 we have significantly improved the way to manage Upload (CSV, ABA, SEPA) file management.  Previously when we detected that a collection was due we sent you an email and marked the invoice as paid (in anticipation).  However, if you forgot to download the file and upload it to your bank we didn’t chase you for it (as we now believed that it was paid) – and it could take you weeks to realise that there was a stale collection request.

So now we do not mark the invoice as paid until you have actually downloaded the file from us.  If you don’t respond to the email, we keep emailing you every day until you download the file (yes, we’re just like that nagging grandmother).  Of course, uploading the file is still your responsibility (that’s why we prefer the Direct approach so much better – but the banks do not allow this) – we can lead a horse to water, but we can’t make you drink!

If you are doing Direct Debits in NZ or AU using trading banks, you may want to consider using EziDebit or some of the other third-party services (we will have more coming online over the next few months) as these have direct connections that do not require any interaction from you to process the collection request.

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