London-based ClearCourse Partnership will acquire Secure Collections for an undisclosed sum as it wants to strengthen its direct debit offering.
Software solutions group ClearCourse says North Shields-based Secure Collections will join its payments division.
Gerry Gualtieri, CEO of ClearCourse, explains that the Facilities Managed Direct Debit (FMDD) service provided by Secure Collections “will complete ClearDebit’s offering” and the firm “aligns well with the businesses within ClearCourse”.
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. In 2021 Secure Collections processed eight million individual direct debit transactions on behalf of its customers.
Brown adds: “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.”
Following the deal, Richardson (formerly MD) 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 with Mark Roberts, Divisional Director of the ClearCourse Payments Division.
It’s not clear if there are any job cuts or changes concerning other staff as part of the acquisition.
ClearDebit is a Bacs-approved bureau used by organisations for direct debit and direct credit processing. With this acquisition, it will make Secure Collections’ FCA-approved 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.
ClearCourse has a great interest in the north of England. Back in October, it announced it will acquire Preston-based e-commerce and online retail software provider EKM. The financial details were not disclosed.
Founded in 2002, EKM provides a platform that powers over £350 million of transactions annually for its customer base of SME online retailers. EKM’s system offers a suite of e-commerce solutions, such as online shop design and visitor conversion tools. Following the acquisition, EKM’s platform will be integrated with ClearAccept.