TrueAccord Talks: Fintech Disruption in 2021

By on July 15th, 2021 in Industry Insights, Industry Interviews

Halfway through 2021, e-commerce and consumer spending continue to see the impact of government stimulus payments while consumers look for new ways to invest and leverage their money. Simultaneously, all sectors of fintech grew during the pandemic, and this growth has not shown signs of stopping. Investment and lending platforms have grown in users by the highest percentage during the pandemic — with increases of 23 and 25 percent, respectively (McKinsey).

With the digitization of banking and financial services now firmly part of our new normal, is “disruption” still possible in fintech in 2021? TrueAccord co-founder and CEO, Ohad Samet, recently sat down with Julie VerHage-Greenberg of Fintech Today to discuss what the next horizon of fintech disruption will look like — and how financial institutions of all types can stay ahead of the curve and create groundbreaking solutions this year.

Watch the full “TrueAccord Talks” episode for more insights, but key trends to watch in fintech disruption in 2021 include:

  1. Solving “structural problems”: Fintechs, unlike many traditional financial services companies, are not just putting old products online and calling them digital, but rethinking the approach to existing problems and building new, better solutions.
  2. Digitization for customer experience: While many companies have focused on digitizing the customer experience, those that haven’t may begin to feel the pressure to adapt. With digitization increasingly being driven by consumer demand and expectation, financial service providers that don’t integrate the consumer experience into their offerings will lose out to those that do.
  3. Affordable financial services: With so many new fintech players in the industry, competition and innovation continue to spur more efficient and affordable services for consumers. Old products will be replaced with new banks, payment options and wage access, and more will focus on credit care and access to cater to consumers.

Beyond Coding: Using AI to Improve the Healthcare Revenue Cycle

By on July 8th, 2021 in Industry Insights, Machine Learning
TrueAccord Blog

Generally, when talking about artificial intelligence (AI) in regards to medical collections, we hear about how it has automated the once-painstaking process of medical coding for billing. But why stop there? With all of its capabilities, AI has much more impressive and patient-facing applications when used to improve customer experience, especially in the healthcare industry which is increasingly digital-first and self-serve. In this post, we’ll explore how AI and machine learning can supercharge the healthcare revenue cycle by catering to consumer preferences, turning billing and collections into a seamless, efficient experience for both patients and providers.

But first: why is it necessary—and even urgent—to improve healthcare revenue management? The answer is patient expectations. Patients now expect the same type of personalized, easy-to-use experience they’ve grown accustomed to receiving from other industries, including banking, airline and retail industries. Patients are now “digital-first” and look for an end-to-end experience that allows them to handle medical-related issues on their own, often from their mobile devices. Patients can already schedule appointments, request prescription refills, receive test results, and even contact their healthcare provider directly through digital platforms. The application of digitization through AI and machine learning to other touchpoints in the patient journey, all the way through billing and collections, can improve customer experience and thereby their overall interactions and relationships with their healthcare providers.

First, digitization powered by AI and machine learning can replace manual and paper processes to speed up the recovery timeline. A 2020 report by InstaMed, a J.P. Morgan company, found that patient collections take more than a month for 63% of healthcare providers. This figure isn’t surprising when 81% of providers still leverage paper and manual processes for collections, while 75% of consumers want to receive eStatements for medical bills. The traditional method of collections does not align with consumer preferences, with more than half (54%) of consumers surveyed saying they prefer electronic communications (emails, text messages, in-app messages and live chats) for medical bills. And a majority of consumers (65%) preferred paying those medical bills digitally as well – whether online through their doctor’s or health plan’s website, their bank’s bill-pay portal or mobile apps – instead of manually. Using AI and machine learning to match the consumer’s communication and payment preferences can drastically improve the time needed to engage and collect from patients.

Second, AI-powered systems can personalize the billing and collections process and offer intuitive payment solutions for patients to achieve the best possible recovery rates. According to the InstaMed report, collecting patient financial responsibility in a timely manner was especially challenging for large patient balances, with 49% of surveyed providers reporting that they cannot collect bills of more than $400 in 30 days. Especially with multiple billers on different payment cycles, it can be difficult for a patient to set up a payment plan with terms they can successfully meet. AI can improve this experience by identifying the most efficient time, place and manner to communicate with a patient about their financial responsibility and go a step further in presenting personalized, affordable payment options. 

Third, AI can be used to interface directly with clients where they are and minimize the need for waiting on hold for the next available representative, creating a more seamless, humane process and a better customer experience. AI-enabled chatbots can answer basic questions, while automation can help provide information on why claims were denied and other status updates. Empathetic customer service is important in the healthcare industry and customized customer self-service can reduce frustration for the patient and the number of service agents needed for the provider.

At TrueAccord, we use AI and machine learning to build digital debt collection solutions for billers that put customers first. By implementing behavioral analytics to predict consumer communication preferences and machine learning to create smart, intuitive processes that increase likelihood of patient repayment, TrueAccord products stay a step ahead to ensure a successful revenue cycle where both patients and providers win. To safeguard personal patient information, TrueAccord’s policies and procedures are designed to comply with all HIPAA-related requirements (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), including documenting the use of protected health information (PHI) and the physical, technical, and administrative safeguards implemented to protect PHI. Learn more about how we use AI and machine learning to provide a personalized collections experience at scale here.

TrueAccord Offers Buy Now, Pay Later Clients the Opportunity to Improve Repayment Success

By on July 6th, 2021 in Industry Insights, Product and Technology
TrueAccord Blog

If you aren’t familiar with Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) yet, it’s a safe bet that you will be soon. The service, which allows consumers to split a purchase into several payments over a set period of time, has been popular in other countries and has been gaining traction in the U.S. 

To quantify the growth in BNPL use, a February 2021 survey conducted by The Strawhecker Group (TSG) of more than 1,500 U.S. consumers found that nearly two in five (39%) had used a BNPL service and predicted that BNPL volume will double by 2025. A separate March 2021 survey by The Ascent found that 56% of U.S. consumers have used a BNPL service, a nearly 50% increase from July 2020. 

This type of payment plan, offered by BNPL companies, has clearly caught on with consumers, leading to rapid growth (in some cases 200% or more year-over-year in 2020) for the main players.

So why do consumers love this offering? The question should be, why wouldn’t they? 

  1. The service performs like a short-term credit card, with generally no interest or fees due, unless the consumer misses or is late on a payment. 
  2. It’s simple and convenient to use when shopping online, with payment offers prominently displayed at checkout. 

It’s easy to see why consumers would opt for a more flexible, pay-over-time purchase option. After trying BNPL, users tend to like it and become repeat customers – TSG’s research found that nine out of ten people who have used BNPL found it reliable and that 85% of consumers plan to continue using it. TSG’s research also confirmed that the option to buy now and pay later tends to make people spend more than they would otherwise, potentially outside of their budget. BNPL will continue to be an attractive payment option for consumers, especially if it’s eventually integrated into in-person retail transactions, and the need for consumer education will grow. 

As a digital debt collection company, TrueAccord helps clients collect on unpaid debts, but is equally committed to helping consumers achieve long-term financial fitness and stability. TrueAccord works with many BNPL customers who for one reason or another did not meet the terms of the payment plan and ended up in collections by helping them understand their debt, offering flexible repayment options and educating on smart borrowing and spending. TrueAccord aims to usher BNPL consumers through and out of debt while delivering the best possible experience, and it’s that collaboration that will lead to better business for BNPL providers and better financial outcomes for consumers.

If you’re interested in learning about BNPL service providers and our work, check out our recent webinars co-hosted with Klarna and Affirm.

TrueAccord Featured in Aite Group’s Spotlight on Disruptive Fintech

By on July 1st, 2021 in Company News, Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

In a recent report by the Aite Group, TrueAccord was featured in the inaugural edition of the “Retail Banking & Payments Fintech Spotlight”, which highlighted disruptive fintechs with a strong focus on technologies that improve the customer experience. Analysts from Aite Group selected the six featured fintech vendors exclusively based on their level of innovation and their interesting approaches to wider business challenges facing the retail banking and payments market from both bank and customer perspectives.

The key differentiator making TrueAccord an innovative fintech disruptor? Not just taking an old system and making it digital, but using a customer-centric approach and machine learning engine that caters to each individual’s needs and seeks to fundamentally change the way consumers manage their debt. 

TrueAccord directs consumer focused messages to their preferred communication channel at the right time, all in line with federal and state requirements. With automated communications and the consumer’s ability to self-serve, TrueAccord collection agents can service 80,000 accounts at a time, compared to the typical 1,000 to 2,500 accounts that a traditional agent manages on behalf of the financial institution client. In addition, TrueAccord has found that allowing the consumer to propose their own payment arrangements within the institution’s approved parameters makes it 50% less likely that they will break that payment agreement. 

“Taking an existing process, especially one that is historically not consumer-friendly, and overhauling it from the ground up to actually benefit consumers is disruptive in the best way,” said Leslie Parrish, Senior Analyst, Aite Group. “While many companies focus on the consumer experience during the loan application process, very few bring that same attention to providing a consumer-friendly digital-first experience to the collection of that debt. TrueAccord’s unique approach to debt collection serves as a catalyst for transforming the collections industry.”

Excerpt from “Retail Banking & Payments Fintech Spotlight”:

The process of collecting on consumer debt is in need of a serious update, and TrueAccord distinguishes itself as a true stand-out in this industry. Together, the company’s three offerings provide a comprehensive solution set for both financial institutions and consumers. Consumers have significant pain points in dealing with unwanted collector calls and would much prefer to deal with these unpaid debts without having to speak with an agent. TrueAccord’s Recover and Retain platforms collectively provide financial institutions with a way to effectively communicate and collect on accounts at varying stages of delinquency in a way that is hospitable to consumers.

To read the full TrueAccord spotlight, download a copy of the report here.

Klarna’s Digital Debt Collection Journey: Outsourcing Without Sacrificing the Consumer Experience

By on June 15th, 2021 in Product and Technology

Klarna, the highest-valued private fintech in Europe, is on a mission to make shopping simple, safe and smooth, for both consumers and retailers, through its suite of payment products and services. From its inception in 2005, Klarna has not compromised on providing a seamless consumer experience — even when it comes to consumers in collection. 

With a high standard for customer experience and in an effort to integrate collections seamlessly with their product, Klarna initially opted to keep collections in-house. For five years the company had great results with in-house collections, but as Klarna expanded to new markets and added new products, scaling in-house collections while maintaining a best-in-class customer experience strained the company’s resources and became less feasible. 

This led Klarna to begin considering a third-party collection partner. By this time, the collections industry had evolved. New players like TrueAccord were building digital-first collection solutions that vastly improved the customer experience via personalized outreach, flexible payment plans, and a self-optimizing, machine learning-driven performance engine.

It’s easy to underestimate the expertise involved in building an effective, compliant digital debt collection engine, and partnering with the right collection solutions provider would free up valuable internal resources. Klarna’s priority was to focus on their core business and engage an expert partner who would be able to build a world-class collection operation for them — one that would only enhance their consumer experience while not sacrificing brand image. 

“We look at collections partners the same way we look at hiring team members: we only want to work with the absolute best. We wanted to partner with a company that truly takes care of consumers,” said Jan Hansson, VP Debt Collection, Klarna. 

Other key considerations to moving away from in-house collection included, data science expertise, engineering talent, compliance resourcing and industry knowledge. After doing their due diligence, Klarna decided to partner with TrueAccord as a collection solution provider. TrueAccord stood out from competitors in two important ways: customer centricity and digital and multichannel capabilities.

By partnering with TrueAccord, Klarna was able to increase liquidation rates and achieve better holistic results, with retention rate a key indicator. Moving to a partnership with TrueAccord from in-house collection also allowed Klarna to free up valuable internal resources and refocus on their key business functions. Klarna is now expanding their engagement with TrueAccord to include more accounts and looks forward to growing the partnership even more in the future. 

“We are so proud to work with TrueAccord,” said Sebastian Siemiatkowski, co-founder and CEO, Klarna. “Putting technology to use for the people instead of against the people is the next generation of tech.

To learn more about TrueAccord’s work with Klarna, read the full case study or check out our recent webinar, “Digital Debt Collections 101 with Klarna”.