I posted a piece last week on Rapidata's paper on what's happening to direct debits in the UK. It can be downloaded here.

Have a look. It isn't often you get such a chunk of great information completely free of charge.

But just in case you are too busy, I'd like to highlight one of the graphs that you'll find in the report – the direct debit cycle.

This chart compares the cancellation rate for each month with the average cancellation rate for the whole year. There is obviously some variation between years, but looking at a typical year ( April 05 to March 06) we find an interesting pattern.

Picture 14

I've taken the commentary on the chart directly from Rapidata's paper.

"On average, the financial year starts in April with a cancellations rate that is lower than the eventual average for that year. 

Cancellations rates then begin to increase over the summer, reaching a peak above the annual average in August/September before dipping below average again in November and December. 

Rates rise above average again in January (as we have explained, this pattern is partly due to closure over Christmas and some December cancellations not being picked up until January) before dipping back below average in February and March for the cycle to begin again in the April of the next financial year."

You'll probably be able to use this to improve the timing of recruitment, upgrade and attrition busting programmes.

If you are interested, you'll find the direct debit cycle for the last six years in Rapidata's paper.

Note: zero is the average cancellation rate. Anything above this represents the percentage increase in cancellations over the average – anything under represents a relative decrease in cancellations.