Direct Debits were available previously, but the systems used were out of date and were not that flexible. Since moving to a Direct Debit system in April 2018 provided by payment specialist allpay, Edinburgh has processed £3.8m in rental income and experienced circa 100% increase in new Direct Debit payers. The Council has also been able to offer increased flexibility and security for tenants with the new scheme.
Edinburgh City Council explains:
“Previously we were only able to offer tenants Direct Debits on a fortnightly collection frequency, and this meant we were unable to secure our income collection. The allpay Direct Debit system offers flexible payment frequencies, (Annually, 6-monthly, Monthly, Four-weekly, Fortnightly or Weekly) and any day collections. This flexibility supports the current Universal Credit roll-out and increased requests from tenants to pay monthly.
“We are able to offer all our new Universal Credit tenants the secure option of paying by Direct Debit each month. This flexible option for tenants means Direct Debits can be aligned with the individuals pay day or Universal Credit payments to support their individual budgeting requirements. It is simple to set-up and allows tenants to take responsibility for payment of their rent with peace of mind.
“As well as providing more flexibility and security for residents, the drive to offer an improved payment collection method also aligned with the need to continually deliver services more effectively and efficiently.
The implementation of allpay’s Direct Debit scheme resulted in less time and resources being required from our internal banking team and enabled us to streamline our business processes.”
“Clear management information and ability to be transparent in terms of enhanced monitoring information and reporting is a further important benefit of the new system. allpay provides a managed service, which includes the production of tenant letters, Direct Debit compliance, 5-day notice period notifications and supports future enhancements which may include Direct Debit sundry accounts and former tenancy arrears, which further reduces administration resources that can be used to support other areas of income collection services.
“The implementation process was straight forward. allpay delivered system demonstrations and worked with us to ensure our needs were met to develop the necessary solution design documentation. The system was tested and supported in addition to post go-live support. Excellent support has been provided throughout implementation, training, go-live and our year end processes.
“allpay delivered a user-friendly on-site classroom style training course for key staff, using a train-the-trainer approach. Training manuals and links to online training manuals and videos were provided to help with ongoing in-house training. allpay has also offered future webinar training sessions if required.
“Rental income collection is a priority for all councils and Housing Associations and allpay’s service supports our approach to provide efficient and cost-effective ways to collect rent. We have had the opportunity not only to stabilise our collection rates but also reduce the volume of missed and delayed rent payments and seek further reductions in arrears, while most importantly providing an improved flexible and secure payment process for our tenants.”