CommittedGiving, Mosaic FS & Telebank are now Elovate!

New name, same company values. Learn more

Does your charity own its Direct Debits?

Does your charity own its Direct Debits?

Date tag 26 Jan 2022
Author tagCommittedGiving Team
Category tagNews

If not, when is it the right time for your charity to start owning them?

Strange question? Are Charity Direct Debits a bit of a mystery to you? If so, you are not alone. In this blog, we’d like to demystify some aspects of Charity Direct Debit management and payment processing in the not-for-profit sector, starting with who actually owns them. And we explore how you can take back some control so that you can optimise your charity payment processing.

Many UK charities set up their Direct Debits via a ‘Facilities Managed’ (FM) account. With this type of account, the payment Bacs Bureau (which your supporters signed up to) will own the Service User Number and not the charity in question.

This FM system for supporter Direct Debit processing is a quick, effective way for some charities to access the power of Direct Debits for their fundraising, memberships, and lotteries. It has also helped many smaller and medium-sized charities offer a Direct Debit facility when they would otherwise not have been approved by their bank to do so.

However, with FM accounts, the lack of ownership of your own SUN does have several drawbacks! Read on to find out more.

How do I know if I have a FM account?

There are 2 different types of FM accounts: firstly, where the Direct Debit is set up using the commercial Payment Service Provider's name; the other is where the FM-accredited Bacs Bureau will create a Direct Debit Service User Number (SUN) unique to you.

In both cases, your charity does not own the SUN, and money from your supporters gets deposited directly into the Bacs bureau bank account and then paid out to your charity – sometimes with the Direct Debit bureau’s fees deducted.

So, when is the right time to review this?

This will depend on a number of factors, and there is no ‘one size fits all'. The first thing you might want to consider is how important Direct Debits are to your charity as a payment processing method, also how many Direct Debits you process each month.

If the volume is over 200 per month, we suspect it might be worthwhile to have an initial chat with your Bank Manager to see if they would consider allowing your charity to take ownership of its own Service User Number.

Just making this initial enquiry will not impact your current DDs and would at least give you an indication of whether your charity could own its own SUN, with the advantages outlined below.

Why should my charity own its own SUN?

  1. Because your charity would own it fully! In practice, this means that you can use any Bacs Approved Bureau or even process in-house. This gives you so much more control and choice.
  2. Flexibility – you can easily add collection dates, change Direct Debit guarantee days, and decide what value limits to set for your supporters’ Direct Debits. By contrast, some FM providers place limits on how much you can process.
  3. Brand control and brand recognition– your supporters will see your charity’s name and your name only, when signing up. They’ll also see your name again on their Bank statements. This repeated brand exposure reinforces brand recognition and recall, important given that supporters who donate via third-party giving platforms can find it hard to recall the charity’s name because the platform’s name and not the charity’s can be the most dominant and memorable feature.
  4. Money – as soon as Direct Debits are taken, they go into your designated charity bank account. No delays – money deposited immediately.
  5. Fees – You can negotiate fees with your bank. Fees for Bacs Bureaux to process and manage tend to be reduced when a charity owns its own SUN, this however may depend on the services required so check with your provider.

We think we need our own Direct Debit SUN but it seems complex and time-consuming. Help!?

The upsides of owning your own SUN are clear from the five points above, but it is true that some time and effort will be required initially to navigate the process and set it all up.

Luckily, the whole process can be simplified by using a Bacs Bureau like CommittedGiving who will help you get your own SUN painlessly and quickly. With over 20 years experience in processing Direct Debits for UK charities of all sizes, CommittedGiving understands how this can seem like a minefield and have helped numerous charities own their own SUN, painlessly assisting them to get it up and running at their Bank.

If your charity needs some help with setting up its Direct Debits, we can help you make a start

If you’d like to discuss your current setup and understand what options might be available to you, but you don’t know where to start, we can help. Contact us for an initial no-obligation chat. There is no hard sell – just plain and simple advice from non-salespeople who have helped lots of charities navigate this area over the past 20 years! We would love to help you get started and we promise to speak in plain English.

Also, discover more about our Direct Debit management service.

CommittedGiving Team
Written by:

CommittedGiving Team

Request help & support

We're here to help

General Enquiries

Drop us a message today

Hannah Trott


A star developer working mainly on the Hub. Completed her MSc Information Technology Management for Business following her BSc at Greenwich University in 2012 and joined us in January 2013. “I really enjoy being part of the team as we all help and support one another but can still enjoy each other’s sense of humour (well those who have got one).”

Interested in loads of things, including reading, dancing, swimming and tri-athalons.

Contact us

Mathew Harris


Mathew Joined CommittedGiving way back in 2002 at the same time as the launch of our then brand new online fundraising service – which at that time consisted of just the one Client!

He has played a major role in developing and enhancing the core applications and services since that time and now, as a Director of the company, manages some of our major Client, Supplier and Partner relationships as well as getting heavily involved in new business generation and product development.

Contact us

Richard Kujawski

IT Manager

All round technical whizz. Amongst other things looks after our servers, provides database administration support, manages third party software and licences. And on top of all this finds time to deal with Clients and develop and implement many of the public facing fundraising web pages. Currently our longest serving team member and long may he continue to be so.

Not surprisingly in his spare time loves tinkering with computers and other high tech pieces of kit. Keeps fit running around the countryside geo caching with his family.

Contact us

Jonathan Peters

Software Technician

“Honest, adaptable and loyal with extensive IT experience. Possesses wide ranging software and technology knowledge. A good team member.” That’s what he tells us. And, to be fair, it’s all true.

Currently using his all-round skills to support key systems and Clients and finding time to get involved in project and system developments. A real asset to the team.

In his spare time a dedicated family man with a keen interest in all things aviation. A real high flyer!

Contact us

Holly Bratton-Smith

Systems Developer

Very pleased to be part of the team and learning something new every day. Graduated with a BSc Computer Science from University of Greenwich and have previous experience in the payment industry.

Love to travel, particularly to places to see animals. Enjoy going out to the cinema, music gigs, football matches and spending time with family.

Contact us

Jerry Traves

IT Application & Production Support Operator

A certified software tester with degrees from Oxford & Open universities, Jerry joins us after a long stint in the IT department of a major travel & financial services company. Working in production data management and UAT he really enjoys the flexible, positive ‘can do’ ethos of the team.

Outside working hours he spends most of his time in the garden or on DIY projects, but would rather be cycling or walking with his family.

Contact us

Monika Wyszomirska

Operations Manager

Monika joins us from a city based legal company and is now responsible for all our production data management needs.

She brings a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management, a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy and a passion for data and detail. So facts, figures and colleagues are in safe hands!

Contact us

Carol Sarreti

Head of Marketing

Previously worked in a marketing role in the Insurance Sector and worked for Lloyd’s of London as an attorney in the City too, so no stranger when it comes to attention-to-detail and accuracy in the financial sector. Graduated in law from the University of Warwick and is level 4 qualified with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

A wordsmith who loves anything arty. Has been known to paint abstract expressionist paintings and is fond of long-distance walking. Happiest when travelling, and spending time with the family.

Contact us

Adam Griggs

Group Chief Financial Officer

A highly experienced fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and graduated in law at the University of Birmingham. Prior to working at CommittedGiving, Adam held several Chief Financial Officer roles in a variety of sectors, including travel and leisure, manufacturing, and retail.

An amateur musician, Adam plays keyboards and guitar and, once upon a time, did the backing vocals in a cover band. Adam also loves classic cars, restoring old cars, and riding motorcycles. He once spent three years restoring a classic mini with his son and rides a BMW R1250GS motorbike which has taken him to many places, including all the way around the NC500 in Scotland and down to the Black Forest in Germany.

Contact us

Terri Keadin

Head of Human Resources

I am a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and have worked in HR for a number of years in various business sectors including retail, logistics, professional services and the motor industry. When not in work I enjoy running, baking and walking my dogs.

Contact us