SEPA mandate reference: Using the mandate reference number to collect direct debits

Payments
Payments

Accept payments online, in person, and around the world with a payments solution built for any business—from scaling startups to global enterprises.

Learn more 
  1. บทแนะนำ
  2. What is the SEPA mandate reference?
  3. What is the mandate reference number?
  4. Creditor identifier
  5. Structure and length of the mandate reference number
  6. Who assigns the mandate reference number?
  7. Where can I find the mandate reference number?

This guide explains what you need to know about the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) mandate reference. What exactly is the mandate reference, where can customers find it, and where can businesses assign it? Read on to find answers to these questions, and more.

What’s in this article?

  • What is the SEPA mandate reference?
  • What is the mandate reference number?
  • Creditor identifier
  • Structure and length of the mandate reference number
  • Who assigns the mandate reference number?
  • Where can I find the mandate reference number?

What is the SEPA mandate reference?

The mandate reference is a unique identifier assigned to a mandate by payment recipients, such as a customer number. For cashless payments in the SEPA zone, the mandate reference is an important identifier for direct debit authorization or the direct debit mandate. Each SEPA Direct Debit always requires a direct debit mandate with this unique mandate reference. Together with the creditor identifier, the payee can use it to uniquely identify and allocate incoming payments.

If a customer wants to cancel a direct debit, they will need to provide the business with the mandate reference number. Before the direct debit can be canceled, customers must provide their personal data and account number in addition to their mandate reference. This gives the business all the information they need to cancel a direct debit.

It should be noted that not all banks use the term “mandate reference.” This number may also appear on your bank statement as “mandate,” “mandate reference number,” “mandate ID,” “authorization number,” or “authorization identifier.” If you want to learn how to accept SEPA Direct Debits, we recommend that you read our guide.

What is the mandate reference number?

The mandate reference is a number that is displayed in the invoice for your direct debit or in your online banking to clearly identify each mandate (combined with the creditor identifier). Each SEPA Direct Debit mandate receives a unique mandate reference, such as a sequential number assigned by the payee. It must be provided for all SEPA Direct Debits.

Payments will often be based on specific schedules, as with subscriptions, for example. The pre-notification requirement of a SEPA Direct Debit mandate offers customers protection against payments collected in error or fraudulently. Please note that you must inform the payer of the date of the debit and the amount at least 14 days before the due date, unless a shorter period has been agreed upon. This could be specified, for example, on the invoice that is sent beforehand. Find out how Stripe can help you with SEPA Direct Debits here.

Creditor identifier

In order to use direct debit, businesses also need to have a creditor identifier, also known as a creditor ID. In Germany, these numbers are issued by the Bundesbank in coordination with the German Banking Industry Committee (DK). In Austria, they are issued by the Austrian National Bank, and in Switzerland they must be applied for at the national Hausbank. Applications can only be submitted electronically.

Structure and length of the mandate reference number

Generally, the SEPA mandate reference number should be no longer than 35 characters. The mandate reference number should be as simple as possible, and the structure of the mandate reference number can be chosen by the payee. A SEPA mandate reference tells recipients what the payment is for, since it usually contains a membership number or customer number. Businesses often use customer numbers and add sequential numbers to them. Since it’s important that banks can clearly recognize the numbers, zeros should be used with caution as they could easily be misinterpreted as the letter “O.” The same goes for periods, which could easily be missed.

The following characters can be used in a mandate reference:

  • Letters A to Z (no distinction is made between uppercase and lowercase)
  • Numbers 0 to 9
  • Special characters + ? / - : ( ) . , ’
  • Spaces

Umlauts and other characters are not permitted.

An example number would be: K10050DE67M10F1R23BL00D7KP

Who assigns the mandate reference number?

The mandate reference number is assigned by the payee, and they should make sure that the key used is unique within their business. The SEPA Direct Debit mandates created from this are valid for at least 36 months or expire after 36 months without use.

Where can I find the mandate reference number?

Each SEPA Direct Debit mandate contains a unique mandate reference number. The payee must provide this number with each direct debit. Customers can therefore find them on their bank statements or in online banking. The customer also needs this mandate reference if they want to cancel a direct debit. You can read more about SEPA Direct Debits here.

หากพร้อมเริ่มใช้งานแล้ว

สร้างบัญชีและเริ่มรับการชำระเงินโดยไม่ต้องทำสัญญาหรือระบุรายละเอียดเกี่ยวกับธนาคาร หรือติดต่อเราเพื่อสร้างแพ็กเกจที่ออกแบบเองสำหรับธุรกิจของคุณ