First Ark

Case Study

Using allpay’s direct debit service, First Ark Group is now prepared for welfare reform and the rollout of Universal Credit – as well as improved customer experience within its contact centre – thanks to the ‘any day’ collections facility, which enables tenants to quickly and easily set up direct debits straight after their income is paid.

Merseyside-based First Ark Group’s housing division, Knowsley Housing Trust, previously set up direct debits for customers/tenants manually within its rents team, which sits in-house within the finance department.

Due to the paper-heavy nature of the process, direct debit payments were limited to either the 1st or 15th day of the month, or on a weekly payment basis. This was so time consuming for the rents team to monitor and process all of the direct debit mandates in-house, that the option of introducing flexible direct debit payment dates could not be implemented.

There was however, an increased demand from tenants via feedback forms, saying they would like to see more variable dates across the month and a choice of days when they could pay by direct debit.

First Ark Group has rolled out allpay’s direct debit service to the contact centre, which means advisors can now set up paperless direct debits for tenants over the telephone, freeing up time within the rents and finance team.

Due to fewer people being involved in the process, an average of a day and a half of processing time has been saved. Following Universal Credit rollout, tenants will benefit from ‘any day’ collection, giving them the ability to set up direct debits on the day they receive their income. This not only ensures that tenants’ rent is paid first and on time, but also enables them to budget their outgoings under welfare reform.

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