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The Public Sector can often be under the microscope, meaning a robust secure payments strategy is a must.

Public Sector organisations are required to meet additional standards when it comes to communications and processing payments.

Any organisation that handles card payments over the phone needs to comply with the PCI DSS – a set of 12 binding requirements, designed to ensure complete data protection for organisations that handle payment cards.

This includes ensuring no payment card information is stored, in addition to having no manual intervention to capture card details verbally during a call.

This poses a significant challenge for many organisations that are required to record telephone calls for compliance purposes. Regulatory bodies and local authorities are no exception.

For councils, handling thousands of financial transactions every month is an important task. As well as face to face, by postal cheques or direct debits, telephone-based payments continue to be a popular choice and one that councils need to offer to those living in their town, district or borough.

The difficulty arises however when payment solutions need to not only be accessible, but compliant with telephone payment security guidelines to ensure payments are handled in the most secure way. With data breaches regularly reported in the media, local authorities would not want to be exposed by non-compliance or data breaches.

At present many local authorities are heavily reliant on customers paying through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, which are automated systems that allow a computer to recognise and process both speech and DTMF telephone keypad tones. While IVRs help to reduce call handling times and can provide an out-of-hours payment option, they also can also add another layer of friction to the checkout process which results in higher levels of dropout.

When customers are paying a car parking fine or similar, adding automation at a time when the customer may be frustrated or reluctant to pay can also exacerbate the problem. Simplifying this process reduces dropped call rates.

Councils are looking at ways to make call handling as efficient as possible, while providing a quality experience to the person at the end of the line. The preferred solution is taking payments whilst keeping the customer on the phone, however historically there have been PCI Compliance issues with this approach as agents are exposed to customers’ sensitive card data, which creates a potential risk.

With customers from every walk of life – from young to old, those who are familiar with technology and those who aren’t – councils need to identify a payment solution that is seamless, and where its trained customer service team can fully assist customers for an improved service, and to ensure payments are taken securely.


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What our clients say

It was clear that PCI Pal’s solution would give us everything we need. And, as a partner with Vonage, it could be integrated - so we didn’t need to bring in a new third party to manage our compliance needs.

Andrew Thompson - Business Services Change Manager
British Medical Journal

We’ve fundamentally changed the way we’re handling our customer interactions. We have a new way of taking calls which is integrated with our Salesforce system and connects payments, billed interactions and customer contact in one place. It’s much more user-friendly and suits the way our customers want to provide the information to us - it’s a far better experience for our customers.

John Woodward - Head of Service Support

The PCI Pal team have always gone out of their way to adapt their solutions as our business needs have evolved. We would certainly recommend PCI Pal. Not only are they digital, safe and secure, but they’re also very forward-thinking, so great for any retail e-commerce business.

Heather Gibson - Brand Experience Director

The beauty of PCI Pal’s Agent Assist is that, not only could we integrate it with all of our existing voice and payment systems, but it provides a seamless way of working for our call centre agents. In fact, I would say we have improved the overall customer experience, as payments can be handled faster, with average call lengths reducing by at least 20% because of the efficiencies it provides.

Jason Hall - Service Delivery Manager

We are really pleased with how Agent Assist is today supporting us. The solution is extremely effective, the team has been brilliant in supporting us deliver this project and we now have a very stable solution that enables us to take card details in a compliant way, while continuing to record our calls.

Matthew Lippert - Assistant Manager

PCI Pal’s tools are known as the Number 1 in the industry. It was exactly the solution we needed for the problem we had and they’ve delivered something absolutely spectacular.

Alex Denley - Head of IT

We haven’t looked back since – the comparison from our previous supplier is like night and day.

Stephen Wright - IT Engineer
Pennon Water Services

PCI Pal’s Agent Assist has turned our Cardholder-Not-Present payments around; transaction times have reduced, our agents are happy as they see all calls through from start to completion and PCI compliance is assured. What makes this a complete success however is that the payment failure rate has dropped from around 25% to less than 5%, which has completely exceeded our expectations.

Andy Kinney - System Manager

For Pennon Water Services, we are committed to delivering simple, accurate and timely billing for water services within one bill, one payment date and one telephone number to call. Working with Vonage and PCI Pal enables us to deliver on this commitment, in a secure and compliant way, satisfying both our clients and our staff in the process.

Stephen Wright - IT Engineer
Pennon Water Services

The process of buying an insurance policy is now easier; the process is much more refined and so customers are less likely to drop out. For our agents, our call times have improved which is a big measurement for us. Ultimately, our agents prefer it, our customers prefer it and we are seeing a big jump in efficiencies all round.

Tom Bowen - Senior Database Architect

I wholehearted support and endorse PCI Pal, everything is great with the relationship. We worked great as a team and now the solution is in place, our customers like it, our agents like it, and it just works.

Sandy McMurry - Helpdesk Technician
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