A standing order is a regular payment from your account that you set up and control.
You can set these up and control them in the bank by asking a member of staff, or through online or telephone banking.
For example, you can set up a standing order to your landlord to pay your rent, or make a regular payment to your savings account.
A direct debit is a regular payment where you agree that a company can take money out of your bank account. You can cancel this by speaking to both the company and your bank.
The company can request different amounts each time the payment is taken.
For example you can set up a direct debit for your phone bill, and each month the phone company will take the full amount of the bill that is owed.