NZ Bank Direct Debits

Most NZ Banks offer Direct Debit facilities to approved customers through their online banking or PC software.  uCollect can prepare the DD file for you to upload to the bank (the banks do not provide us with an interface to be able to do this on your behalf).

To be able to use Direct Debits directly with your bank you need to be approved as a Direct Debit Initiator.  This can be problematic for many small businesses.  If your bank does not approve you (or you want a more automated solution) then please consider EziDebit.

Creating your Direct Debit Authority

Please contact your bank directly to inquire about this.  It can take some time to go through the approval process.  Not all businesses will be approved.  If you are not approved then please consider one of our other partners such as EziDebit.

Setting up in uCollect

To set up your gateway in uCollect Add a new Gateway (Edit Organisation, or from the setup wizard) with the following details:

  • Gateway: choose the appropriate bank’s Direct Debit option.
  • Enter your Banking details as prompted. If you are not sure what to include here please contact your bank for clarification
  • Calculate Commission/Fees on Settlement: This option is not appropriate for NZ Bank DD Files.
  • Pay Now: NZ DD files are not eligible for Pay Now.  If you want something for PayNow please consider EziDebit.

You can also set the default values for the Particulars, Code and Reference to appear on your customer’s bank statement.  In any of these you can include:

  • “[Contact]” (without the quotes) to have this pre-filled with the contact’s name from your accounting system.   Please note that there is a limit of 12 characters in the Ref/Part/Code fields, and uCollect does NOT truncate the contact name here.  Most banks will truncate automatically when receiving the file, but may still give you an error (ANZ gives an error, but the file still processes).
  • “[Invoice]” (without the quotes) to have this pre-filled with the invoice number (if more than one we list the first one and “etc”).

For help on using the Gateway setup screen please see the help page.

Managing your Customers

You need to ensure that the bank account number is entered in the format BBBBBBAAAAAAASSS where BBBBBB is the bank and branch code, AAAAAAA is the account code and SSS is the 2 or 3 digit suffix (we strip out dashes and spaces, so the following also work: BB-BBBB-AAAAAAA-SS, BBBBBB AAAAAAA SS, BBBBBB AAAAAAA SSS).

For Quickbooks: You enter the bank account number directly into the Add/Edit Contact dialog.

For Xero:  You should enter the bank account number into the Bank Account number field in the Financial details section (not the Account number field in the Contact details section).  The Bank account name, Particular, Code and Reference fields can not be used in uCollect due to Xero API limitations.  When you Edit Contact in uCollect we will display the Bank Account number from Xero so that you can see if it is correctly formatted.

When setting up your contacts in uCollect you usually can enter the Particulars, Code and Reference to appear on their bank statement.  In any of these you can include:

  • “[Contact]” (without the quotes) to have this pre-filled with the contact’s name from your accounting system.
  • “[Invoice]” (without the quotes) to have this pre-filled with the invoice number (if more than one we list the first one and “etc”).

Managing your Collections

Because your bank does not give uCollect the ability to submit the DD data directly to them we have to get you involved in the process.  This is not our ideal mode of working!

  1. Every day we check your accounting system to see if you have collections that need to be initiated (we based this on invoices that are due or over due).
  2. If there are collections due by DD file then we will send you an email asking you to log into uCollect.
  3. When you log into uCollect you click on the Generate Now link (or go to Collection History and click Process Now).
  4. uCollect will check again to see what payments are due for collection.  At this stage you can preview this list and suspend any invoices from collection (until further notice).  When ready you click Generate.
  5. uCollect will now generate the DD file and download it to your browser.  If you have multiple payment dates (usually because you have set the “Number of days in advance to initiate”) then we will prepare one file for each date.  We will also mark the invoices as paid in your accounting system.
  6. It is ESSENTIAL that you upload the DD file(s) to your internet banking right away.  If you fail to do so payments will not be initiated.

If you are away for a day and payments are due but you don’t generate the DD file in uCollect there is no need to panic.  Simply log back in the next day and any invoices that were due for collection will be included in the current batch.

Each bank has a different process for setting up the batch.  If your bank is not listed please feel free to email us the steps and we can include it for all.

  • ANZ: select New Batch “Bulkload Domestic Payments”, File format = “Domestic Extended”, Transaction/Batch Type = “Debit”.  Select your batch date, Debit Auth Code” and bank account from the lists.  Then click “Bulkload” and approve your batch as normal.  Please note that if you get “Field length should not exceed 12 characters” you will need to change the Particulars field value on the Edit Organisation, gateway settings area.  You can simply re-download the file once this done.
  • Westpac: Go to Payments, Direct Debits, Direct Debit Imports.  You will need to create a New Import Profile using profile type DeskBank CSV (we suggest that you name it uCollect).  To import the batch you need to select the radio button to the left of the profile and click the “Import” button.  Then upload the file using the Choose File and click “Confirm.”  Now you should refresh the page to verify that there are no errors.  Finally, go to Payments, Direct Debits, Pending Direct Debits and authorise the batch.
  • Any errors to do with Hash totals (e.g., “Hash total differs from control record” in ANZ) is always an issue with one of the bank accounts.  Please review the bank account numbers, change the invalid one, and re-download the file from uCollect.  You don't need to delete payments - just download the batch again.  We will include the current bank account numbers automatically.

Known Issues

  • Our generation engine does not enforce limits on field lengths.  Most bank fields limit the length and content of the field.  While some banks will automatically truncate long fields, others (like Kiwibank) do not and may fail the entire batch if one field is too long.  Error messages like this one signifiy that some rows have this type of problem:

    Please pay attention to any stated max lengths and avoid use of [Invoice] or [Contact] variables if you get these issues.  Contact support for assistance.
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