Direct Debit System & zenda partner to simplify school fee payments

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Direct Debit System unites with zenda
Raman Thiagarajan, Co-Founder of zenda, & Ummair Butt, Founder & CEO of Direct Debit System.

UAE’s first paperless direct debit marketplace, Direct Debit System has entered into a partnership with fellow fintech startup, zenda, to simplify the payment of tuition and education-related services through an automated, digitized process.

The collaboration will improve the efficiency of payment collection for educational institutions while offering parents the flexibility to pay fees on a monthly basis.

As other industries accelerate the shift to automation and digitization, the education sector lags behind, with half of payments still being made through cash or cheques.

The new partnership will integrate zenda’s user-friendly payment app with the paperless Direct Debit System to enable parents to settle school bills with pay-now and pay-later options.

Ummair Butt-Direct Debit System
Ummair Butt
Founder & CEO
Direct Debit System

“This agreement with zenda is another important milestone in our mission to provide an alternative to the age-old practice of bulk cheque payments. Combining four bulk cheques for annual rent and three cheques for school fee payments can amount to over 50 percent of the average salary in the UAE. By settling those recurring expenses through a monthly digital payment system rather than advance paper-based cheques, 96 percent of monthly salaried people in the UAE can budget better to stay out of debt and protect their credit score. Direct Debit is offered at a very low cost to merchants incentivizing them to allow monthly payments and providing peace of mind as a safe, legal alternative to cheques.”

In addition to tuition fees, families can also explore other services, such as transport and meals, to expand their payment options through the app.

The combined technology has been specifically developed to integrate with platforms used in the educational sector to facilitate end-to-end digitization, improving controls and cash-flow predictability and eliminating the need for manual reconciliations. At the same time, it provides families with the opportunity to manage household budgets more effectively through customized recurring payment plans.

Haseeb Ahmed, zenda’s Co-Founder, explained that, “Our aspiration at zenda is to redesign financial services, contextualized for solving specific use cases of the sector, and in creating a one-stop experience for the parent.”

The collaboration comes as both Direct Debit System and zenda grow their operations in the UAE and beyond. In the past three years, zenda has expanded across five countries, working with over 400 schools, and serving more than 100,000 families. In its home market of the UAE, zenda commands over 30 percent of the market share.

Speaking on behalf of zenda, Co-Founder, Raman Thiagarajan concluded that, “We are very excited to collaborate with Direct Debit System, a pioneer in offering a fully digital recurring payments platform in the UAE. Our services will help education institutions in offering flexibility to their parents while enhancing their collection efficiency at the same time.”

Direct Debit System

Direct Debit System is a platform that provides customers and merchants with a simple and convenient all-in-one solution to conduct recurring payments, such as school fees, rent, gym memberships, and any other subscription-based service.

Having officially launched in September 2023, Direct Debit System has already onboarded several notable clients and recently announced a strategic partnership with real estate management firm, Keyper. The system is backed by the UAE Central Bank and was one of the earliest entities to use UAEPASS, making the entire process paperless.

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