It occurs to me that the customer experience in relation to making payments has come a long way in the last 10 years. I get fewer paper bills, I almost never write a cheque… both of which seem to me to be an improvement. Payment by Faster Payments is now widely available and can be initiated from a mobile app. 10 years ago this would have seemed like magic. Despite this progress there is still more to do, I suspect that my recent experience is all too common.
My insurance policy renewal arrives by email. I don’t renew automatically, as like many customers (0r perhaps because I am mean), I like to shop around if my premium policy increases. This year all is well, I’m happy to renew with my existing provider. The only way I can do this however is by calling the telephone number on the renewal letter they emailed to me. It’s lunchtime and I’m not looking forward to it. I wait in the long phone queue to get through to customer services, I knew this would happen and it’s eating away at my lunch break.
When I get through to customer services we run through my security credentials – I am now letting everyone in the sandwich queue know when I was born. Some younger people in the queue look shocked – they suspect I was born before electricity was invented. Next, after finding my card, I have to balance my phone in one hand and my card in the other and read out (still to everyone in the sandwich queue) my card details. I hope the person on the other end of the phone is looking after these details properly. There seem to be so many cases where they get into the wrong hands and my 15 minute call turns into something that disrupts my life for the next 3 months and my credit score for much longer.
What if my insurance provider sent me a Request for Payment? They can attach my renewal details and policy to the request and digitise the whole journey. I can pay by authenticating through my bank account using my biometric authentication – in my case a fingerprint. It might be that I need more information, “is this your best price”? I can respond with a decline – “too expensive, seen better elsewhere” and get a response to confirm they will meet that price with a new Request for Payment. Because I pay from my bank, there are no card details to read out and because it’s a Request for Payment I know where it’s come from. No phone call, no queuing, no broadcasting my personal details. And you know what, because its paid by Faster Payments its quicker, cheaper and easier to reconcile for my Insurance Provider.
So, the good news is that this is not a conversation about something that is coming “soon” (and we all have experiences of how long “soon” takes). This is a conversation about something that is here now as an overlay service to Open Banking which most UK banks are signed up to. It can be used today – which I find exciting.
At CGI, we have always been working at the forefront of payments innovation and are discussing Request for Payment opportunities with a number of our clients in collaboration with Ordo, a Fintech who are leading the way on the Request for Payment. If you recognise the encounter above, we would be happy to talk to you.
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