Drive down the cost of your payments process

Increase efficiency, reduce errors and prevent fraud with Experian PaymentsThe recent emergency budget has imposed demanding targets for cost reduction across all areas of government. Many of these savings are expected to come from improved processes and increased efficiency but to realise some of these savings, it is necessary to invest time and resource in finding new ways of working.
    
Payments is a function that is due for an overhaul and can provide significant savings through automation, data quality and process improvement. Cost in the payments process comes from three key areas; the manual processing of payments, handling payment errors and managing levels of fraud. But what can you do to reduce these costs and how can you demonstrate return on investment within the first 12 months?

Automate your payments process
By ensuring that manual processes are only used where human intervention is strictly necessary, you can reduce paper-chasing, free-up staff time and drive down the cost of administration overheads.
    
Experian Payments Gateway takes payment data directly from existing software applications, checks the data against processing rules, highlights exceptions and submits automatically to UK payment services such as BACS or Faster Payments.

Validate your payments data
By ensuring that your citizen’s bank account details are correct at the start of the payments process, you can ensure that payment errors do not result in costly rejected payments that waste time and money.
    
In the UK, validating sort code and account number is mandatory for paperless Direct Debit sign-up and best practice for new originators. Bank Wizard, the UK industry standard for bank account validation, ensures bank account data is correct at the point of capture, whether you collect details over the telephone or via your website.

Verify your payments data
By ensuring that the bank account details provided actually belong to your citizen, you can ensure that the account you are making a payment to or collecting a payment from is the account of your citizen, minimising the risk and associated cost of fraud.
    
By verifying the link between your citizen and their bank account details, Bank Wizard Absolute ensures that the bank account for your citizen is correct, reducing fraud such as falsified benefit claims or fraudulent council tax payments and improving citizen experience.
    
Experian Payments work directly with local and national governments or via chosen government solutions providers to deliver highly efficient, easily deployable solutions that drive down the cost of payments processing and show return on investment in as little as three months. Blackpool Council has already seen the benefits.
    
Initially, Blackpool Council needed a payments system that would integrate with its many and varied computer platforms. Experian Payments Gateway was chosen for its functionality, ease of use and stability.
    
Experian Payments Gateway was integrated into existing payment applications within two days and with minimal disruption to the business. As a result, Blackpool Council has increased the efficiency of their payments processing by improving their ability to meet tight deadlines whilst reducing the amount of time council workers needed to dedicate to this task.
    
Donna Billsborrow, systems development & control officer at the council, says: “I find that on a daily basis, the Experian Payments support team is very friendly and are able to find solutions to any problems we have very quickly. This is essential for us as we have very tight deadlines to meet.”
    
More recently, Blackpool Council wanted a solution that would ensure the accuracy of bank account details at the point of capture to remove the problem of managing updates to complex and constantly changing data. As an existing customer of COA Solutions since 2001, Blackpool Council approached Experian to work with COA to integrate Bank Wizard into their e-financials product. Following integration of Bank Wizard, the number of failed Direct Debit payments experienced by Blackpool Council fell by 80 per cent.
    
Carol Cunniffe, transactional services manager at the council, says: “Implementing Bank Wizard for our Direct Debit payments has resulted in a substantial decrease in the number of returned payments for services such as Trade Refuse, Council Tax, Business Rates or direct debits from our local leisure facilities. We have also been able to remove paper and manual intervention from our payment processes, significantly improving our customers’ experience by speeding up the payments process.”

For more information
To find out more about how Experian Payments can help you overhaul your payments process and demonstrate significant cost savings visit: www.experianpayments.com/public-sector, e-mail us at info@experianpayments.com or call us on 01788 554810 and quote ‘Government Technology’.