I have a question about membership status. I'll attempt to explain this so it makes sense, any ideas/help much appreciated!

An existing paying member let their membership expire. They then went online and signed up again for membership but this time using GoCardless Direct Debit for the first time.

It found the existing record by the email address they used.

The Contribution made for the membership went into 'pending' state with an ETA completion of 29th November 2019 00:00. This is all expected to account for the time that GoCardless sets up the direct debit.

In the Membership tab on the contact, it's still showing as 'Expired' whilst it's waiting for the DD to set up. Is this expected behaviour?

When any user signs up for membership for the first time, the Membership goes to 'Pending' state and I think we expected a similar thing would happen when a user renews an expired membership.

We use WordPress Member Sync that looks for those in 'Pending' state and still allows them access to our member-only portal on our site. We did this because of the delay when setting up a direct debit with GoCardless, we wanted users to get access straight away, so we give access to those even in 'Pending' state.

So, this means that if a user has previously expired, and signs up again. They won't get access until the Direct Debit clears because it remains in 'Expired' state rather than changing to 'Pending' once the new contribution has been made.

Is this expected behaviour? Does anyone know why the Membership changes to 'Pending' on a new sign up, but remains on 'Expired' status when a user submits a new membership once it's expired?

I hope that all makes sense! Let me know if clarification is needed on anything. Thanks all for any help provided.

4 Answers 4


For anyone else that stumbles across this because they are facing something similar:

I got a response on mattermost from Matt @ MJW consulting pointing me to this issue - https://lab.civicrm.org/dev/membership/issues/18

Other people have come across this, there is a patch, but it hasn't been progressed yet.

  • thanks for posting that here. it will help others who may get caught by that. I agree that being able to set as a Param is good idea, but also appreciate that currently it is only built to exclude statuses that are already included by default.
    – petednz - fuzion
    Dec 3, 2019 at 2:58
  • Thanks, I'll take a look at that. Dec 3, 2019 at 9:02

Membership stuff can be tricky, but I believe once the pending Contribution is actually received, the new Membership will update to Current. I'm assuming you have set up the new payment processor in Civi.

  • I'm hoping so! I'll have to wait until the 29th to check it all goes through ok. Thanks for the reply
    – sjparker
    Nov 26, 2019 at 16:05

You may need to look at your Membership Status rules. Having a membership start off as Pending can be set using these rules, but i suspect they can only run off the 'member since' date which only happens on the first sign up

  • Ok thanks for the info - I was assuming this was already the case because it is already set to 'Pending' whenever a user creates a new fresh membership (not renewing). It's only in the circumstance that the user has a previous membership that is in 'Expired' state it doesn't automatically change to 'Pending' when they renew via the Direct Debit clearance period.
    – sjparker
    Nov 26, 2019 at 16:04
  • Pending memberships don't usually have a 'member since' date. This field is blank until the first membership payment clears. Nov 26, 2019 at 19:47

I have seen the same behaviour on a membership site which is also using GoCardless. So, yes, I think it is the expected behaviour.

I believe a membership can only be in the 'pending' state when it is first set up. There is a logic to it staying as 'expired' even after payment has been received but not cleared so I don't think it would make sense for all organisations for it to change to 'pending'. Perhaps you need another status with 'expired but pending'?

After the payment has cleared I would expect the membership status to change to 'current'. Note that this will actually happen on Mon 2 Dec because GoCardless sends notification the working day after the payment has cleared (usually at around 11am in my experience) and 29 Nov is a Friday.

  • 1
    Thanks Will - You were right, it went to 'Current' after the weekend and my member access workflow triggered from that successfully.
    – sjparker
    Dec 2, 2019 at 23:21

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