Conversational AI and payment processing combine to smooth payments and collections
South Africa’s leading payment solutions provider, Pay@, has announced its partnership with FinChatBot, a global technology company specialising in conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions. Together, they are developing a first of its kind payment solution for the South African market that will launch in the last quarter of 2021, with plans to expand it to other territories in the future. By combining conversational AI with the ability to process payments via a number of channels (including in-store, mobile payment processing apps, EFT and bank card payments over USSD, and WhatsApp, among other channels), the solution aims to improve customer engagement, reduce friction, and take the hassle out of payments and collections for industries such as insurers, lenders, municipalities and ecommerce operators, in addition to others.
FinChatBot Director of UK Market, Richard Marsden, explains that, having spotted pain points in both of their markets such as challenges around DebiCheck, consumer engagement, and the operating costs associated with running call centres, the two companies opted to partner and develop a solution that addresses these and other issues. “By leveraging technology, we can provide customers with an enhanced digital payments and collections solution, all in one place.”
Barry Williams, Sales and Marketing Head at Pay@, adds: “Engagement platforms and payment solutions typically operate separately, but now we’re bringing the two together and providing customers with choice in the type of payments they make. It also bridges the worlds of digital and in-person payments – something which is crucial given the majority of South Africans’ propensity for cash transactions. Consumers now have the flexibility to decide whichever entry point they prefer to transact with a service provider. With our new solution, they can do so via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, SMS, Instagram and other widely used digital consumer portals using their mobile phones – all from the comfort of their couch.”
In addition to enabling consumers to receive bills and make payments through a multitude of entry points, the technology also onboards customers, walking them through the signup and buying process, while also verifying their ID and running background checks. It also deploys eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer), a process of verifying the identity of customers electronically to assess and monitor risk to mitigate fraud.
Plans are in place to enhance the solution with a customer service interface within the chat to handle queries, complaints and concerns. Pay@ and FinChatBot are also exploring how the technology could be used for facilitating the submission of insurance claims and reception of pay-outs and refunds.
“We believe that this solution holds enormous potential for a myriad of businesses to achieve growth while also developing new business models and services that are geared towards unlocking digital transformation in Africa,” concludes Marsden.