So, I have a new debit card, not for any terrible reason, the old one just reached end-of-life. But while there is no drama behind it, there certainly is because of it.
This is the era of e-commerce, almost everyone takes card payments online and for the consumer the cheque is all but dead. Unfortunately this does mean every few years that a whole bunch of automatic, settlements fall over. Angry emails come buzzing in: this payment failed, that order canceled, if you don't pay soon your service will be canceled.
One interesting exception was TFL, they allowed my oyster auto-top-up to happen even though the payment didn't go through so long as I settled the outstanding amount with reasonable haste.
So what are the alternatives?
- Direct Debit; while used extensively in the public sector, utilities, and insurance, should there be a campaign to try and get more retailers to use this. Or is it the case that the framework agreement that it is based on provide too much risk?
- Third party solutions; These exist, for example Paypal allows you to set two methods of settling recurring payments. However these sorts of features come at a price and using value added payment services cost more.
- A new way? So is there something the banking industry can do?