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Dropping direct debits as a means of payment

On a recent en primeur offer (Barolo I think), I noticed that the option to pay by direct debit has gone - now card only. It seems that is the way the Society is going for all order payments, which personally I think is a shame. Direct debit is a very convenient way of paying IMO.

Was interested in the rationale - suspect it is security related, but don’t know.

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There seems to have been quite a few issues with DD . I guess if you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all …

I’m quite a fan of it too, though I know a few members had some problems with payments taken twice etc. I’m awaiting a delivery of my pre-shut down order this week, and had been emailed to say that this will come out as DD (which is my ‘preferred’ method on the website) - so looks like it’s still around, but perhaps not for long…?

I believe this is down to the way the money for EP offers is being checked, same reason as not offering named substitutions. A hold for the amount is put on the credit card and I don’t think they can do that with direct debit. Something about banking policy. @MrLaura may be able to elaborate.

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Years ago the then CEO implored us to change to DD as TWS would thereby save the credit card fee. I would think that would still be the case.

I think the scales have tipped over the years.
I understand that many banks are charging business customers significant fees to use direct debits whilst competition has driven down credit card fees. Indeed I know one business paying no more than 1% and with the average value of transactions at TWS they should be able to negotiate similar rates.

Maybe that explains everything. I am standing by my bunk waiting for the CEO to implore me to start paying by credit card.

now many of us have banking apps - i’d happily swap money straight from my account to theirs.

My last order on tuesday still had the payment shown by direct debit.

We have recently moved to a new En Primeur system which only allows us to take payment details via a credit or debit card and you’re right @danchaq, this is because our new policy is for banks to secure payment at the time the order is being placed - this is not possible when taking payment by Direct Debit. As @Leah says, there were also issues with Direct Debit which meant it was causing inconvenience to a number of members - we really want to ensure that all of our members have a positive experience when ordering from us. Currently, there is still the option to pay for your regular orders and Bonded Reserves duty and VAT/ Reserves invoice by Direct Debit if you have your account details registered with us already.


I find the DD system works fine thus far and is convenient but by the same token I’m supremely indifferent to the Society moving to a payment with order (either by debit or credit card) approach. However I realise this may not be the case for others.

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We only pay 1 - 1.2% on most of the popular credit cards (visa and mastercard), there are one or two odd ones like Diners Club, I think, that charge more and typically business credit cards have a higher charge on them. The most expensive which we refuse to accept is PayPal who are just profiteering off the smaller businesses that would struggle to get a merchant account for credit cards. They keep trying to get us to include them and each time they offer us a slightly better deal but we have told them we’re not interested unless they come down to the same level as our normal credit card charges. :smiling_imp:


It is hard to understand why the Wine Society still does not accept AMEX. The old ‘song’ it’s too expensive no longer applies. Nowadays it seems that there has been something of a rethink at AMEX and they will come down to normal credit card charges. If ‘direct debit’ is no longer possible then it seems that I have no other easy method of payment, are cheques still acceptable, or what? Please will someone say as I am seriously worried. Thanks.

Dear Mr Franklin, If you really are paying between 1 - 1.2% on popular credit cards, then the question needs to be asked: Please are you 100% that today you are getting the best deal?

Fairly sure it’s about the best we can get for our size of turnover we keep getting other companies looking for our business but when we quote our rates they can’t do any better than match them. The other complication is that we need a Euro account as well as most of the others will only give us that if we can guarantee a € turnover larger than we actually have.

You’d be hard pushed to get better rates unless you’re a really big retailer. We are pretty small, so I’d expect TWS to get better rates than us. Which was the only point I was making, that it is possible to get good credit card rates these days even with moderate turnovers.

As someone who used to work in the credit card industry on the acquiring side I’d agree. The best rates available are hard for small businesses no matter what is written in the press. Don’t forget it’s not just the credit card company rate, it’s also the acquirer and provider of rental equipment/online portal that adds to the cost. The bigger the business the better the opportunity to negotiate. Small companies don’t usually get the chance to influence charges. I’d even suggest that TWS doesn’t have a huge sway, particularly as a lot of transactions have been done via direct debit over the years. You need a volume of card transactions to make it worthwhile to lower fees significantly. I’m sure that TWS’s demographic would be attractive to the likes of Amex, Diners etc but still Direct Debit payments had been considerably lower for years, so if the Society is focused on reducing costs for members then DD has been a great way to do it which then means less ability to get cheaper card rates. The EU legislation changes have helped reduce charges but still there is a cost which impacts prices the society will be able to charge.

Apologies get geeky on credit cards for some reason. :roll_eyes:


I would have thought that securing payment at time of order will deter some ‘carpetbagging’ EP behaviour ie putting in a massive order and then dropping a large proportion of it if you do well on the allocation.


I questioned the absence of DD option on an en primeur offer recently and was advised that the Society would be dropping DDs altogether in the autumn.

For many years, TWS maintained in error, 2 sets of bank details for my DD. Repeatedly, I would receive correspondence saying that my DD was not working. This was always because they tried to use the account that I had closed. They never seemed able to cancel the old account and just use the new. It was very frustrating.
This issue has rolled on for years. When buying wine on my DD, I never knew which account they may or may not use.
So whilst the DD arrangement is convenient, I think TWS has issues trying to manage them. This would explain their change of mood.

received an email saying that direct debits would not be maintained beyond 1Nov20

RIP direct Debit