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Direct Debits & other ways to automate your savings

4 April, 2023

Have you ever found yourself thinking “I can’t save” or “I’m a terrible saver” ?
Maybe you skip saving for a week, or two, or three, justifying it by telling yourself you will make it up – “I will just put extra in the next time” – but you never do.

What you may need to do is automate your savings. But when you look into doing that, you are faced with all these words and abbreviations –

  • Direct Debit
  • Standing Order
  • Internal Transfer
  • SCR Disbursement
  • Electronic Transfer/Web Transfer

It’s intimidating.

Well, today is the day you are going to find out what all of these terms mean and how you can use them to your benefit. Not only that but you can then pass on the knowledge to somebody else.

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

You will need an IBAN for most electronic transfers. But what is an IBAN?

It is a combination of 34 letters and numbers that is used to identify an account. The format of an IBAN looks like this: IE11ABCD12345678912345.

Credit Union members have their own unique IBAN.*

The BIC or Bank Identifier Code is used with the IBAN to identify the bank in which the account is held. The BIC looks like this:  ABCDIE12.

Usually, you will find the IBAN and BIC on a statement, or when you log in to your account online.

Direct Debit (DD):

A direct debit is possibly one of the most common automations you will come across and is sometimes shortened or abbreviated to just DD or SD on your First South Credit Union statement.
To set up a direct debit you will need an IBAN and BIC.


If you want First South Credit Union to take a specific amount of money from your bank account weekly/fortnightly/monthly and lodge it against your loan balance, you simply give us the IBAN and BIC for your bank account and specify the amount and frequency. Call us today on 021 496 5134 to set it up over the phone or pop into any one of our 5 branches in Cork.

Another use for Direct Debits is for paying bills with 3rd parties,  such as your gas/electricity/phone/bins or insurance. In this instance you would give your First South Credit Union IBAN and BIC to the service provider, and they would then take a payment from your Credit Union account on the agreed dates at variable amounts.

Standing Order (SO): 

A standing order or Regular Bill Payment is very similar to a direct debit. The difference is that instead of instructing First South Credit Union to take money, you’re asking them to send money into your credit union account.


Perhaps you want the bank to send money into your First South Credit Union savings account every weekly/ fortnightly/ monthly at a set amount. You then give the bank your IBAN and BIC for your credit union account or vice versa.

You can also set up standing orders to pay bills, at set amounts and frequencies. To do this you need the IBAN and BIC for the provider which you then give to First South Credit Union.

Internal Transfer:

An Internal Transfer is when you transfer funds between two accounts within First South Credit Union.


You want to load money onto your credit union debit card from your savings. You can use the First South Credit Union online banking platform/ mobile App to do this or to set a recurring internal transfer please call to any one of our 5 branches.

SCR Disbursement (SEPA Credit Disbursement):

Let’s say you get your wages/ social welfare / pension paid into your First South Credit Union account. You want the money to be divided up between:

  • your savings account,
  • your current account,
  • your car loan and,
  • your two children’s accounts.

This is where you use an SCR disbursement.
You dictate how much goes to each credit union account. Then, every time your wages arrive at your credit union account, the funds will be automatically disbursed for you.

Electronic Transfer (EFT)/Web Transfers:

First South Credit Union’s online banking platform has this feature. You will need the IBAN and BIC of the account you wish to transfer funds to. Anytime you transfer money to your friend to pay your portion of a bill, that is an EFT.

You can also do EFTs at the counter in First South Credit Union. However, you might hear us calling it something different – a CT, which stands for Credit Transfer. It is essentially the very same thing. You can send monies directly to a 3rd party once you have their IBAN details, including utility bills and bank accounts.

And there you have it. Now you know what these terms mean.

If there are other terms you don’t understand please let us know using the comment box below and we will do our best to cover the topic in a future blog post

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*Some of these features are only available to full service members, students under 26 and in full time education and current account holders. See here to find out more about becoming a full service member.