ClearCourse Partnership, a group of technology companies providing integrated software solutions, is to acquire Secure Collections, a Bacs-approved Direct Debit Bureau based in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Secure Collections will join the Group’s rapidly growing Payments division and will bolster its direct debit offering, ClearDebit.
The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Co-Founded by Alan Richardson and Bernie Brown in 2003, Secure Collections provides commercial direct debit bureau and contingency services, handling direct debit payments on behalf of non-profit organisations such as LOROS Hospice and St Oswald’s Hospice among other charities, as well as larger organisations including the Newcastle College Group. The combination of Alan’s 30 years of banking experience and Bernie’s strong technical skills has helped the business to grow from a Bureau that in 2003 processed a few thousand transactions to a business that in 2021 processed eight million individual direct debit transactions on behalf of its customers.
Following the deal, Richardson (formerly Managing Director) will stay on for three months before stepping away from the leadership to retire. Brown will continue in his role as Technical Director, and will work closely with Mark Roberts, Divisional Director of the ClearCourse Payments Division.
Secure Collections’ services are highly complementary to ClearCourse’s existing direct debit offering, ClearDebit. ClearDebit is a full-service, Bacs-approved bureau trusted by hundreds of organisations to support their direct debit and direct credit processing. With this acquisition, ClearDebit will make Secure Collections’ FCA-approved Facilities Managed Direct Debit (FMDD) service available to an additional 20,000 customers currently being serviced by the various brands within ClearCourse.
The software Secure Collections deploys to run its services is developed by Mosaic Software, one of ClearCourse’s existing brands which now forms part of ClearDebit, making this a smooth and straightforward transition for Secure Collections’ clients. As part of ClearCourse, Secure Collections will also benefit from a range of other value-added services, as well as access to investment for expansion and operational guidance from the ClearCourse management team.
Gerry Gualtieri, CEO of ClearCourse, says: “Each organisation has a very different approach to managing the intricate payments process. Within our portfolio of customers, some of the bigger organisations have a Service User Number (SUN) and are able to process their own direct debit payments. But those that aren’t big enough still have payments to be processed. They need a partner that can collect payments from customers quickly and efficiently, removing the need for firms to obtain their own SUN. This functionality (FMDD), provided by Secure Collections, will complete ClearDebit’s offering. Secure Collections aligns well with the businesses within ClearCourse, and we are thrilled to welcome the team to the ClearCourse family. Alan and Bernie have built a commendable business, and we wish Alan a happy and restful retirement, when it comes.”
Brown says “Joining ClearCourse is an exciting development in the right direction. It ensures stability as well as succession, especially as Alan enters a well-deserved retirement. The Group provides us with numerous opportunities to expand, improve and grow our infrastructure and current service offerings – in particular its proprietary card payments acceptance service ClearAccept, which is complementary to what Secure Collections offers. We will continue to live-up to our ethos of offering personalised service to all our loyal customers, and look forward to a new and exciting chapter in our evolution.”