Based in South Wales’ Rhondda Cynon Taff region, the housing association provides services to more than 20,000 people of all ages.
Prior to working will allpay, RCT Homes had a very fragmented approach to rent collection through the local authority.
Cash payments came through very slowly and reporting was often two to three days behind because of this.
The approach to rent collection was very ad hoc, payments were spread around and many payments were often very late.
Direct debit payment take up was not as high as expected either – many residents felt restricted by the limited number of payment dates available and there was also an underlying preconception that setting up this method was long and complicated.
For RCT Homes, the solution was clear – a single organisation with the capability of handling all payments was required.
The organisation wanted to be able to provide its clients with a wide variety of payment options, from swipe cards to direct debit to telephony payments.
Paul Jones, head of income recovery at the housing provider, explained that he was aware of many other organisations using allpay, suggesting it is a firm to be trusted.
Upon further investigation, Jones discovered that allpay could offer all the payment solutions RCT Homes required.
“When we were looking for a trusted organisation to work as partners for cash collection I was expecting to find someone who would provide card payments, someone who would provide telephone payments and someone else for direct debits; I did some research and one name came top all the time – and it was allpay,” Jones claimed.
“Now all of our payment collection channels come from a single provider which manages our direct debit payments – providing any day collections and full flexibility on frequencies – text, phone and online payments, in addition to cash payments at both the PayPoint and Post Office networks.
“The benefit from having a single supplier is that we receive all the information relating to the payments the following day, so we know by 10am what payments were taken the day before, whereas with the local authority it would take three to four days sometimes to come through,” he added.
According to Jones, the implementation of the allpay solution was a very smooth process, “almost seamless.”
The company ensured that all residents have a payment card and RCT Homes was able to completely scrap an old system of Excel Spreadsheets.
RCT Homes has seen numerous benefits from its work with allpay, including flexibility and quick direct debit set up.
Cash collection has risen considerably and arrears are down by a large percentage. It is also much cheaper for the housing provider to run the allpay system and both staff and tenants find it much easier to use.
“Having the flexibility of ‘any day’ direct debit payments through allpay has certainly helped us stay upper quartile in our rent arrears performance: 1.2% of the annual rent debit in 2012/2014 and 1.6% in 2013/14,” claimed Jones.
“It’s a far better system as it’s online, it’s much easier, it handles all of the returns for us, it handles all the correspondence to tenants and any changes – it is a completely managed service, which is much better.
“The system has certainly helped to increase direct debit take up. Once we’ve explained to the tenet how quick and simple the process is and that we don’t need a form to be completed as we can do it paperlessly for them in two to three minutes, they’re fine and it means we can set up the mandate there and then. They’re actually quite surprised how quick it is,” he added.
The social housing landlord has also been particularly impressed with the innovation behind allpay solutions and the great customer service the firm has provided.
“The customer service provided by allpay is excellent. It’s refreshing to have an account manager who understands the pressures that we have and what’s happening in the environment and in the housing market,” Jones claimed.
“We’ve recently gone live with allpay’s branded payment gateway allowing us to offer our own branded online payment pages, thereby improving customer service. The gateway allows us to accept all major credit and debit cards, offer a gateway for our customers that retains the look and feel of the organisation and which facilitates a payment in three simple steps, allowing the resident to opt in for an email receipt too,” he added.