Alternative payments platform scoops two UK public sector awards

Two alternative payment schemes designed by consumer payments firm PayPoint have been recognised at the Cards & Payments Awards.

The payment schemes are designed to enable the most financially disadvantaged in society to receive payments from central and local government. The awards are the largest of their kind in Europe and recognise the best in class in a number of key categories such as customer service, technology and innovation.

PayPoint's Simple Payment is the solution that replaced the costly and paper-based Cashcheques (known as giro cheques) for the payment of government benefits, pensions and child maintenance to people without bank accounts.

Payments are made either to a secure, bespoke prepaid card at PayPoint outlets located in convenience stores, supermarkets and forecourts across the UK, or instantly via SMS or email (ePayments).

Simple Payment is delivered on behalf of the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) by PayPoint and Citi, and its success has even allowed the Government to discontinue all cheque services, with an annual saving to the taxpayer estimated at £15 million, including an estimated £5million per year in fraud.

The next award went to Quick Credit Voucher, which was "highly commended".

The Voucher scheme is a secure, web-based portal to enable Local Authorities to make Emergency Payments to vulnerable residents for collection at any of PayPoint's 26,000 outlets nationwide. The Emergency Payments scheme provides a rapid safety net in times of crisis to over 9,000 UK residents in need, every month.

The Quick Credit Voucher portal was created and launched in just six months, following the UK Government's decision to transfer responsibility and budgets to Local Authorities.

When awarding the prize to Simple Payment, the judges said: "In the current UK environment, there is an expectation that public and private sector organisations will drive efficiencies and reduce costs. There is also an expectation that organisations will drive a digital agenda through innovation."

"The Simple Payment card addresses these expectations, while enhancing the customer experience."

They added that "We were impressed with the development of a new alternative payments platform which plays to the social inclusion agenda extremely well."

Commenting on the Awards, Seamus Smith, Managing Director of PayPoint UK & Ireland, said: "We all feel rightly proud that not just Simple Payment but also our QCV scheme have now been so publicly recognised. I'm very proud of our business, our people and, of course, the retailers who administer the schemes in their shops, providing highly valuable services to their local communities."