Company Spotlight: Direct Debit System

Ummair Butt shares his journey to founding Direct Debit System.

Tell us about yourself, your background and your journey to founding Direct Debit System.

Moving back into full-time employment after the failure of my first business in Dubai, I encountered the same struggle faced by many monthly salaried parents trying to balance the family budget. With two school-going kids and a rented apartment, I was paying three post-dated cheques for education and four for accommodation, presenting inevitable cashflow challenges, particularly at certain times of the year.

Rather than trying to navigate around those challenges, I set out to investigate why the system existed in this way, and what I could do to change it. I made it my mission to create a platform where people could pay their large expenses at least on a monthly basis. This resulted in establishing Direct Debit System, the UAE’s first paperless platform that provides customers and merchants with a simple and convenient all-in-one solution to conduct recurring payments.

The bulk post-dated payments never made any sense to me and when I started to explore the reason behind the system, I found that organizations were treating these cheques as a hedge to protect future cash flow; a cheque was merely a security instrument to guarantee future payments. However, no one knew that bounced payments could be reduced by 41% if people were able to pay monthly, and there was actually a perfect digital legal alternative to cheques – Direct Debit.

How did you get started?

Based on my first-hand experience working with Direct Debits in the UK, I was able to understand what needed to be done in the UAE. Whilst employed, I moved to Ajman to save on rent and dedicated over half of my monthly salary towards the development of a new Direct Debit system for the UAE. In September 2017, I resigned from my job and started Direct Debit System FZ LLC and we soon landed two large real estate clients. However, there were flaws with this system and it still remained a paper-based latent process.

I decided to approach the UAE Central Bank to explore whether we could instigate the same change that BACS UK Ltd brought about in the UK, with the aim of creating a platform that could be bank-agnostic, paperless, standardized, and support the interoperability of the Nation’s Direct Debit system with financial and CRM systems. It took us three more years to develop our system to act as an aggregator of Direct Debit for the UAE Central Bank and to get the necessary approvals to become a licensed entity with CBUAE through a local bank, but we were finally granted a NOC in September 2022 to access the CB systems.

In September 2023, after rigorous testing of the system for a year, Direct Debit System FZ LLC onboarded its first client and the current rate of enlisting so far suggests it will cross 150 clients in 2024, with some notable names getting onboard.

What are your future goals?

We are looking into other regions and territories with a UK subsidiary already established and KSA, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, US, and Central Asian countries next.

I know from experience that Direct Debits can help monthly salaried people to budget better and stay out of debt. People should stay away from x% credit card offers and simply budget outgoings monthly. It equally helps businesses to lower the cost of collection, as Direct Debit carries equal weight as cheques in the UAE now, it is a safe legal alternative for merchants and for payers and provides peace of mind as the system is backed by the UAE Central Bank.

Where can readers find out more about yourself and Direct Debit System?

Visit our website at or connect with us on LinkedIn at

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East