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4 Reasons Why Your Gym Needs To Switch Direct Debit Providers

Behind many gym direct debit providers is... a complete lack of transparency, reliability and support. Here's why it's time to make a switch.
Switch Gym Direct Debit Providers

Here are 4 reasons why you need to change the direct debit providers used by your gym

  1. Traditional direct debit companies can eat away your profits
  2. Many debiting services lock gyms into unfair contracts
  3. It is not uncommon for payment providers to withhold data
  4. You will typically receive poor customer service in times of need

Direct Debit providers can end up offering the last payment solution your gym wants

While partnering with a company that specialises in direct debit services is essential for your gym, finding the right match can be rather difficult. Why? Well, take a look under the surface and what you’ll see is… a complete lack of transparency, reliability, and support.

Ask anyone within the fitness industry and what you will hear will likely be a combination of mediocre reviews, negative opinions, and horror stories. While there is a small percentage of payment providers out there who are fantastic, chances are, it’s time for you to make a switch.

Don’t know the warning signs? Here are the top reasons why it’s time to make the switch.

Traditional direct debit companies can eat away your profits

Similar to most companies, traditional direct debit providers have one core objective… To turnover as much revenue as possible; maximising profitability.

Why is this bad for you?

Well, it often comes at the expense of much needed customer service and transparent communication. That… and you’ll likely be forced into paying inflated transaction fees meaning the ‘Big Guy’ is making a huge profit from your members.

What can you do about it?

Well firstly, be sure to shop around to find reasonable fees or fee packages (A payment structure where, although transaction fees are higher, the value you receive through other offerings provides a benefit to your gym). Then be sure to look into other aspects such as service conditions and service levels.

Many debiting services lock gyms into unfair contracts

Though it goes without saying, lock-in contracts can be a particularly poor financial decision when it comes to direct debiting services. Why? Well, the payment industry is ever-changing which means you should have the flexibility to change with it.

To put this into perspective, here is a quick excerpt taken from Forbes…

“Lock in contracts often seek to restrict the buyer’s flexibility in a variety of additional ways such as limiting access to data, requiring changes be made through the incumbent vendor often at above-market prices and maintaining the architecture planning in the vendor’s control or influence.”

What does this mean? Well, at the end of the day, it really depends on how you look at it. Though, in most cases it would suggest giving up a large portion of control to a company or service that’s “meant” to be designed to work in your favour.

So, remember to always be vigilant when looking into gym payment providers. Our advice would be to find a company that is highly accessible, support orientated, and delivers constant communication at times when you need it most.

Gym Direct Debit Providers Contract

It is not uncommon for payment providers to withhold data

If there is anything our team has learnt over the years of on-boarding new partners, it’s that some companies can be extremely reluctant to pass over user data.

Whether it be exporting member profiles from another gym software provider or gaining access to direct debit databases… It’s not always easy. At times it can even be quite concerning as it may often mean your business is at liberty of someone else.

Similar to the effects that lock-in contracts can have, having data withheld from you can often result in a range of negative outcomes. So, be careful to remain in full control of your member data.

The best way to do this is by looking into data transparency and access. Be sure to ask the right questions to avoid being hurt in the long-run.

You will typically receive poor customer service in times of need

Regardless of issues such as transactional fees or lock-in contracts, having access to good customer service is non-negotiable. The problem here is that most large debiting companies fail to offer the help you’ll eventually need.

Is this a large claim to make?

Yes… But, is it justified… Well, yes… Here are a few reviews taken directly from a product review website, across some of the industries most popular players.

(Again, while this does not represent everybody, it’s a reminder to be careful and extremely vigilant when looking to select a payment service provider for your gym.)

“My gym has finally moved their payments away from (Company). Am looking forward to not debating overdue fees every couple of weeks. If you care about your customers do not use this service.”

“(Company) isn’t willing to help. They are only in it for themselves and to stuff people around. Hard company to deal with and never clear on instructions on there ridiculous contract rules.”

“Like most people who have crossed paths with (Company), Mine was a Failure.”

“(Company) is used by many gyms and I’d recommend you avoid them at all cost. They harass you endlessly, even when you have made arrangements…”

If it’s the only thing you do… Find a company that does things differently.


Choosing a company to partner with is never an easy decision, particularly when it involves a large and vital part of your business. So, summing up, be sure to find a customer-orientated debit company with a strong sense of trust, transparency, and communication.

Here’s a quick checklist to use when ‘shopping’ for payment providers

  • PCI DSS Compliant
  • No Lock-in contracts
  • Operational transparency
  • Consistent communication
  • Customer-focused business model
  • Specialises in the fitness industry
  • API Integration
  • Reasonable transaction costs or fee packages
  • Clear sense of data ownership

Who are the best Direct Debit Providers for your Gym to Use?

If you’re looking for a Debit company whose core priority is looking after their clients at every turn… The simple answer is:

Debit First

Why do we endorse them? Well, because they’re the best at keeping costs low and quality of support, high.

Now, part of our transparency, we want to disclose that VIGYR does directly partner with Debit First (So our recommendations will always be slightly biased).

What’s important to remember, however, is that the information in this article remains true whether you decide to use the payment services provided by Debit First, or not.

Do your research, find out what the best service for your company is, and fire away. All we’re giving you is a good place to start.

Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

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