Payments news: A leader in innovation

27 August 2015

As an established customer, Capita is very pleased to congratulate Harrow Council on their recent win at The MJ’s prestigious annual Achievement Awards. Their achievement in the category ‘Innovation in Channel Shift’ was recognised at the ceremony at the London Hilton Park Lane Hotel on 18 June 2015.

At the heart of Harrow’s award entry was its ‘Access Harrow’ brand. This initiative improves customer access across all council services, including face-to-face, telephony, email and online forms, website, an online customer portal and complaints.

Harrow Council, like all local authorities, needs to be compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) regulations in order to protect residents from the risk of fraud and to safeguard its own positive reputation for data security.

Capita’s PCI DSS-compliant card processing service is used in by Access Harrow’s contact centre, in conjunction with Semafone technology, to ensure the security of the 20,000 telephone payments it handles each month. The joint offering from Capita and Semafone allows customers to enter card details using their telephone keypad without interrupting their conversation with the service agent or pausing the call recording facility. 

Previously, customers had been obliged to read card details out over the phone, carrying a risk of fraud both from being overheard and from any opportunity for fraud from within the contact centre.

Jonathan Milbourn, Harrow Council’s Head of Customer Service, said: 

"This award is recognition of the hard work and talent across Harrow Council. The semafone technology assists our residents to make self-serve payments securely knowing that their payment details are protected from potential fraud.  Both staff and resident satisfaction in the Access Harrow system has led to its continued success for the council."

Tim Critchley, chief executive of Semafone, commented, "In this day and age, no organisation should be asking its customers to say their card details out loud. With Capita’s skill and experience in payment collection solutions, we have delivered a state-of-the-art payment solution to Harrow Council, offering residents a peace of mind along with even higher levels of customer service."

Andrew Davies, head of payments at Capita, said,

"Partnering with Semafone has enabled us to incorporate our industry expertise, knowledge and technology to achieve a fully secure and efficient service for Harrow Council and most importantly their customers. The new system provides Harrow Council with a secure way of taking payments over the telephone in a PCI-compliant manner that protects both their customers and their contact centre agents."


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