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Process SEPA direct debit forms faster, more accurately

The forms are critical for any company doing business in Europe.


SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area. The initiative was introduced by the European Union as a way to create more uniform procedures for cashless payment transactions, such as transfers and direct debit, across Europe. Automation can help you process direct debit forms 3-5 times faster, and with accuracy rates well above average.

Many insurance, telecommunication and utilities companies use a SEPA direct debit process to automate payments from customers and, in this way, avoid unnecessary debt collections.The companies issue a SEPA direct debit mandate form, which their customers fill out, sign and return to the issuing company. The form authorizes the companies to send instructions to their customers’ banks to debit those accounts. This also helps remind customers of regular payments, as the transactions are issued directly by the company offering a service.

The information in the mandate form contains, at a minimum, an identification for the customer, the identification of the issuer and an International Bank Account Number (IBAN). The customer identification as well as the IBAN number are usually filled in manually by customers.

Once the companies receive a signed direct debit mandate, it is processed and used in a payment system to allow charges to a customer’s selected account. The process involves scanning documents to archive them, and transferring the information from paper (or scanned document) into the payment system.

The whole process is time-intensive and prone to error. Processing the mandate forms involves reading long strings of numbers, which must perfectly match the entry of the customer, and typing them into another system. In addition, if a customer made an error, e.g. wrote down the wrong IBAN number, this could affect the payment process.

With Automation Hero’s AI-powered OCR, after the forms have been scanned, extracting required information from the document is easy. Some information can be validated automatically, such as the IBAN, while other details may need review.

Automation Hero keeps humans in the loop during this process via Robin, an automation assistant that can show a human images of the forms from which information was extracted. This review process lets humans correct errors that may have occurred during OCR.

With Automation Hero, companies can process SEPA direct debit forms 3 to 5 times faster, and with above-average accuracy, which minimizes manual, repetitive tasks for teams.


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