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Transforming payment processing: Northumberland County Council's journey with Access PaySuite

Housing Public sector

In order to bring citizens a seamless and secure payment experience, Northumberland County Council has partnered with Access PaySuite, a leading payment processing software provider.

Gone are the days of complicated and time-consuming payment methods. Thanks to Access PaySuite’s innovative solutions, Northumberland County Council now offers its citizens a range of convenient and highly secure payment options. With a population of approximately 311,000 and a diverse range of services to provide, the Council needed a payment solution that would deliver extensive functionality, uncompromising security, and a strong return on investment. 

Access PaySuite emerged as the clear choice for the Council, offering a complete corporate payment solution at a highly competitive cost. Their payment processing system boasts a myriad of impressive features, including the processing of card payments using the software provider’s PCI DSS Level 1 certified managed service. This not only ensures ultimate security for cardholder data but also allows the Council to delegate some compliance responsibilities.  

But that's not all. Access PaySuite’s payment options are as diverse as the needs of the citizens they serve. Whether it's paying over the counter, over the phone with the help of a contact center staff member, or through self-service options available 24/7 via the internet or automated telephone using speech recognition, Access PaySuite’s solutions for the public sector covers all bases. The Council was also drawn to Access PaySuite’s Income Management system, which seamlessly integrates and reconciles multiple back-office systems with the central finance system. 

“What sets Access PaySuite apart is their track record of success. Already providing payment solutions to three former district councils, they had received rave reviews from these existing users. With such positive feedback, Northumberland County Council knew they were making the right choice.” 

Since going live with Access PaySuite’s Payment Management products, the Council has witnessed a revolution in payment options. From counter receipting at various cash offices around the county to mail order telephone order payments handled by contact center staff, the various solutions have streamlined the payment process. Self-service payments through speech recognition and internet options have empowered citizens to take control of their payments, while Access PaySuite’s Income Management system acts as the central hub for all payment details. 

Since implementing the software, Northumberland Council has successfully met tight deadlines, and Access PaySuite has - and still continues to - offer consultancy, project management, implementation, and training for all their products. The partnership didn't stop there, as Access PaySuite continued to provide strong on-site support during acceptance testing and post go-live. 

The journey towards efficient payments didn't end there. Access PaySuite introduced integrated kiosk payments, allowing citizens to make payments with either card or cash. This expansion of payment options, coupled with the Council's encouragement of self-service payments, has resulted in significant savings in staff time. 

Moreover, the Council enjoys highly competitive card processing rates with Access PaySuite. Their service includes all necessary fraud protection measures, ensuring that payments meet the banks' stringent security standards. The processing rates offered by Access PaySuite are markedly lower than those previously experienced by the district councils. With Access PaySuite’s managed service handling card processing, the Council no longer requires specialised on-site software, hardware, or infrastructure. This not only reduces costs but also minimizes the Council's liability concerning PCI DSS compliance, as the responsibility for data security is now entrusted to Access PaySuite. 

The citizens of Northumberland have wholeheartedly embraced the self-service payment options offered by Access PaySuite. Approximately 10% of Council Tax payments are now made online, with an additional 4% made through automated telephone services. 

As the Council looks to the future, they remain in constant dialogue with their dedicated Access PaySuite account manager, exploring the ever-evolving landscape of payment solutions. The Council plans to expand their use of Access PaySuite’s products and services, ensuring that they continue to provide cutting-edge options for their citizens. 

In their quest for independence and efficiency, the Council is implementing Access PaySuite’s Configuration Management System (CMS). This system allows designated staff members to take control of the Council's internet payments' page content, streamlining the configuration process and reducing reliance on external support. The Council also aims to achieve direct integration between Access PaySuite’s Virtual Terminal (known as and their CRM system, further optimising the payment process in their contact centers. 

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Access PaySuite came highly recommended by the district councils that were existing users of their products, and we were particularly impressed by the range of payment channels supported. We were keen to encourage our citizens to make use of the self-service payment options and, in doing so, to ensure that payments take place with security of cardholder data paramount.  

With an established PCI DSS certified managed service, the Access PaySuite’s solution has delivered on all fronts and brings with it a range of tangible benefits to the Council."

Neil Arnold, Infrastructure Manager at Northumberland County Council

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