Direct debits are a payment instrument allowing banking customers (debtors) to make payments upon authorisation of debit to their bank account, given to the creditor beforehand.
Direct debits allow banking customers to make all types of payment resulting from long-standing and/or one-off contracts, e.g. water, electricity, telephone, gas, insurance, rent or loan instalments. Direct debits can also be used to make one-off payments.
For creditors, direct debits represent an efficient means of collection.
Direct debit transactions
Jointly with the European Central Bank and other national central banks, Banco de Portugal oversees the operating rules of the direct debit scheme based on a set of general standards adopted by the Eurosystem: the Harmonised oversight approach and oversight standards for payment instruments and the Oversight framework for direct debit schemes (with the respective Guide for the assessment of direct debit schemes against the oversight standards).
Customer to Bank Communication Manual
The Portuguese banking community has developed a harmonized communication format, applicable to SEPA credit transfers and SEPA direct debits, which aims to facilitate links between customers and payment service providers. This harmonized communication format is described in C2B – Customer to Bank Services.