The great card switch

We’re changing the way we take payments for veg boxes, and some of you have asked for a little more information on the whys and wherefores of this shift. We always want to be transparent about these things, so below you’ll find a rather lengthy, but thorough, explainer for our thought process here. I hope this helps answer some of the questions that have come back to us over the last week or so. Please do drop us a line at if you feel like there’s anything missing here.

All the best,

Why we’re changing

The direct debit service we currently use is provided by a third party company called GoCardless. That’s been the case for a long time – so long, in fact, that many of our customers will have signed up by post so will never have interacted with the payment system online. We use a third party because we’re not licensed as a direct debit provider ourselves.

We’re out of contract with GoCardless soon, which mean it will get much more expensive for us to run transactions through them. And we want to keep our costs as low as possible, for obvious reasons!

The other major downside to direct debits is that for legal reasons we have to give a three day notice period before we collect payments. This means that sometimes customers have boxes delivered after their payment notification has been sent, but before the amount is collected. It causes huge amounts of confusion and mistrust as customer expect their accounts to be re-set to zero after they’ve paid, and it takes many many staff hours to untangle sometimes. We lose customers because of it! It also makes scheduling around weekends and bank holidays complicated.

By switching over to card payments, we’ll be able to charge everyone weekly, on a Friday afternoon, after all deliveries have been completed for the week. This means billing will be really clear and predictable. The plan is to do this after all our customers have made the switch.

Why Windcave?

Windcave is just another payment provider – in the shop we use a company called Dojo to handle card and contactless payments, and online we use Windcave. They are regulated by the FCA, and their security procedures are in line with best industry standards.

The company we work with to organise the veg box scheme, Ooooby was originally based in New Zealand and a lot of organic box schemes there still use them, which is why we’re using an NZ company for the card payments. To me it’s a bit like using Microsoft (American) to run our spreadsheets – we need these tools and they make them. There’s absolutely no way we could do this in-house!

I should say that unlike Microsoft, Google, and the other software companies we use to run the business, I work directly with Ooooby. We know their CEO and lead developer, and as an organisation they are lovely with strong ethical credentials. Our cousins in vegetables, Regather and Moss Valley Growers, are also with Ooooby.