A direct debit is an authority given to a bank or building society by a constituent to make regular payments to your organisation. 
Your organisation makes a request to their bank for payment via BACS.
The amount paid can vary which makes direct debits useful if you run a membership scheme where the membership dues increase each year in line with inflation, for example.

In terms of Raiser’s Edge, you would send a file of transactions to be collected to BACS who would then request payment from each of the constituent’s banks and BACS would then deposit these payments into your account.

Who are BACS?
This is the company which owns and operates the automated clearing house that processes Direct Debits on behalf of the UK Banks and Building Societies. It also manages the UK Direct Debit Scheme.

See How to process direct debits for more information.


A standing order (or a standing instruction) is an instruction a constituent gives to his or her bank to automatically pay a fixed amount at regular intervals to your organisation. This instruction is sometimes known as a banker's order.
As the standing order amount is fixed, in order to increase the standing order, the constituent would cancel the existing standing order with their bank and setup a new instruction at the increased amount.

In terms of Raiser’s Edge, as the money is automatically paid into your account, your bank can sometimes supply your organisation with a file of payments for import.

See How to process standing orders for more information