Digital banking software provider Intelligent
Environments (IE), in partnership with data and decision support
vendor Experian, has launched the Smart Collect 24-7 payment
portal, which enables companies to encourage customers to repay
debts conveniently online.

The launch of Smart Collect 24-7 marks IE’s
first move into collections, and aims to provide a “new, lower cost
alternative” to existing, traditional collections strategies.

The Smart Collect 24-7 payment portal is aimed
at primary lenders and debt holders, third party collection
agencies and debt purchase companies, focused on debtors likely to

The online portal allows end users to manage
debt repayments securely online, either by making one-off payments,
or by setting up direct debits and other appropriate repayment

IE says that Smart Collect 24/7 will reduce
the cost of collections by diverting customers from higher cost
telephone, mail and direct channels and allows collection agents to
focus on higher-risk, complex cases.

It is also capable of boosting collections
rate among customers likely to self-cure, reduce write-offs and
ensure rapid implementation.

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Vice president of marketing at IE, Jerry
Mulle, said:

“Outstanding personal debt in the UK stood at
£1,459trn ($2,257trn) at the end of April this year, with UK banks
and building societies writing-off £568m of credit card debt in the
first quarter of 2012 alone. Concurrently, 63% of UK internet users
now use online banking at home, illustrating how self-service
financial management is becoming increasingly popular.

“By allowing customers to manage their arrears
in the same way that they bank, our online collections service not
only brings convenience to customers but also cost savings to
banks, retailers and other service providers.”

Simon Waller, Experian’s head of customer
management and collections, said solutions such as Smart Collect
24/7 are “going to have a profound impact” on how customers –
particularly young adults – engage with financial services
companies, as consumers continue to become more technology

“The industry has been asking for this kind of
product for a number of years and technology adoption and usage by
consumers now makes implementing this kind of tool financially
viable,” added Waller.

The portal is available as an outsourced or
internally hosted service and can be fully integrated with the
existing collections environment that companies can brand and
content manage.