UK-based digital payments specialist Telrock has launched a self service payments application, SmartCollect in Canada this week, offering customers a range of quick and discreet ways to make payments on current and overdue accounts, through a choice of digital channels.
As ‘Standard and Poor’ recently cut their outlook from “stable” to “negative” on seven Canadian banks, there is a requirement for new thinking on the intelligent management of consumer debt. SmartCollect is set to take on the challenge, having previously helped European financial institutions, such as Nordic Credit Card Company, EnterCard owned by Barclays. The software application has improved collection rates and reduced costs while supporting customers who fall into arrears. It allows customers to set up and manage final settlement payments, promises to pay and payment plans through their choice of seven different interactive communication channels including smartphone apps, social media, web portals and SMS, acting as a virtual agent for lenders.
According to Ipsos research, “83% of Canadians use their mobiles ‘on the go’,” giving lenders the ability to alert customers straight to ‘their pocket’ and reminding them to pay. Self service is also becoming increasing important as “82% of Canadians say technology has made banking more convenient, enabling them to bank whenever and wherever it suits them,” reported by CBA.
Telrocks’ SmartCollect results show, over 26% of customers pay within 15 minutes of receiving “payment due” notifications, 40% within 30 minutes and 74% within 48 hours, with the mobile channel proving to be most effective by providing a significant improvement on manual call center and paper based methods. A recent survey on debt collection by IT firm, Sopra Group concluded “the debt collection industry faces heightened pressures on recovery rates.” They also found “81% of those surveyed agree costs are escalating because debt collection is taking longer. Over 50% of the respondents said they want a new technology-based solution.”
Jerry Ferlisi, General Manager of Telrock Americas explains, “We have found many debtors are too embarrassed to talk about their debt or forget to make payments, while these customers tend to use digital services frequently. SmartCollect gives customers the discretion to manage their debt by simply replying to an SMS, without having to discuss their financial difficulties with an agent. We have found customers using this technology are more likely to stick to their payment arrangements, while lenders can focus their call center effort directly on debtors in more serious need of their help.”
Telrock is a UK and North American based software Development Company launched in 2002, and the first to launch mobile payments into the UK financial market. They have developed digital services in collections, fraud and acquisitions for clients such as Bank of America, Capital Once, RBS, SSE and Deutsche Bank, though this is their first move into North America.