For anyone middle-aged, they might remember the “G.I. Joe” cartoon series. At the end of every episode, aside from wondering how Cobra raised money to pay for all of its attempted schemes and its henchmen, there was a lesson, a moral to the story. And the catchphrase was always “Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.”
In collections, getting a promise to pay is half the battle. Now, Applied Innovation has developed a product that will allow collection agencies to go well beyond just getting a promise to pay. The company recently released an add-on to its PayStream product called GreenLight.
GreenLight allows collection agencies to set up recurring payments with individuals who want to use an ACH or debit card. The service is intended, in part, to ensure that agencies comply with Reg E, a rule that establishes procedures for handling electronic transactions, such as those made with an ACH or debit card.
While on the phone with an individual, a collector can send an email or text message with a link. When the individual clicks on the link and enters in a passcode provided by the collector, they are presented with the payment arrangement being discussed. The individual can then authorize the payment plan and approve it on the spot.
Previously, agencies had to send out two copies of an authorization letter to the individual and wait for one copy to be signed and returned before initiating the agreement, said Michelle Jeffers, vice president of business development at Applied Innovation.
“When you look at the price of sending out two letters and waiting for a consumer to sign one and send it back in, the cost for that is well over $1,” Jeffers said. GreenLight “is priced competitively and will not slow anyone down.”
As required by Reg E, the service allows individuals to revoke authorization to the arrangement at any time. Individuals receive a notification about the pending withdrawal prior to it being conducted.
Applied Innovation plans on releasing GreenLight as a standalone product in the near future, Jeffers said. Agencies can select whether to accept payment plans just for ACH or debit card payments, or using credit cards as well, Jeffers said.
“It’s very flexible for the agency in so much as they get to pick what funding types they want authorization for,” Jeffers said. “We wanted to give the clients the leeway to make it look and feel like their business., not ours.”
GreenLight offers collection agencies the opportunity to board an individual into a recurring payment plan in real-time, while the idea and intent to repay is the focus of the conversation. And for collection agencies, that is more than half of the battle.