A standing order is a regular payment that you can set up to pay other people, organisations or transfer to your other bank accounts. You can amend or cancel the standing order as and when you like.
A Direct Debit can only be set up by the organisation to which you’re making the payment. Normally, you sign a mandate that gives the company permission to take funds from your account in an agreed way – like a monthly gym membership or your mobile phone bill. It normally confirms who’s receiving the payment, the account to be debited, the amount and the dates of the payment. As you‘re protected under the Direct Debit Guarantee scheme, any amount debited in error, is refunded immediately. Generally, large corporate companies who are taking thousands of payments every month tend to set up the Direct Debit Function to be able to take payment easily themselves from someone’s account.