Industry Insights Webinar: Making the Most Out of Your Website

By on August 19th, 2019 in Industry Insights, Product and Technology

TrueAccord’s Julie Hughes, Senior Product Manager, joins Patrick Lausen of Convergence Acquisitions and Kelly Parsons-O’Brien of Pacific Credit Services on August 22, 2019 at 1pm EST to discuss the power of building your brand through you website. Here is the official summary from AccountsRecovery.com:

“Websites are windows into a company, offering a glimpse of what separates one company from another. Increasingly, for companies in the credit and collection industry, they are also portals for individuals to manage accounts and make payments. 

Managing a wide spectrum of objectives can be difficult for any collection agency website. In this webinar, sponsored by PDCflow, a panel of experts from the accounts receivable management industry will share their tips and tricks to help make the most of your website.”

Click here to save your spot now!

Industry Insights Webinar: Best Practices in Mitigating TCPA Risks

By on August 13th, 2019 in Debt Collection, Industry Insights

Join industry experts David Kaminski of Carlson & Messer and TrueAccord’s own Kelly Knepper-Stephens on August 14th, 2019 at 12pm EST as they dive into the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and how teams in the credit and collections spaces can best understand the coming changes. Here is the snippet from AccountsRecovery.net:

“The Telephone Consumer Protection Act has become a landmine of legal issues, thanks to court rulings and new rules that are going to reshape how companies communicate with individuals over the phone.

In this webinar, sponsored by WebRecon, a panel of leading compliance experts from the credit and collection industry will share their insights into how companies can best manage their TCPA risks and help understand the changes that are on the horizon.”

Click here to sign up for the webinar before it fills up!

TrueAccord and the Future of Digital Debt Collection

By on August 6th, 2019 in Debt Collection, Industry Insights, Product and Technology

In January 2019, AccountsRecovery.net launched a survey of more than 100 companies in the credit and collections industry to “assess the penetration of digital communication tools and how much they are being used in the industry.” “Digital communication” includes channels such as email, text messaging, and web portals that work to reach to consumers. 

However, these channels are secondary to outbound calls and paper mail, practices that have remained unchanged for decades, even though 70% of companies believe that digital communications have had a moderate to significant impact on their collection rates! Updating these channels for the modern age can improve the collections experience for both the customer and collector. Let’s find out how!

Communication Channels

Email

According to the AccountsRecovery survey, more than half of the companies that took part in the survey are using email communication. A majority of respondents also said that they are sending emails to or receiving emails from fewer than 20% of their users. This means that 80% or more of their customers are regularly receiving calls from collectors to discuss resolving their debts rather than receiving digital communications. 

According to TrueAccord’s 2018 consumer survey, the majority of consumers using our site would rather resolve their debts online than through other channels. With such a large number of consumers interested in online engagement, it’s easy to see why we’ve leveraged digital channels to modernize the collections industry.

We use email communication as our primary form of contact at every stage of the customer lifecycle, and each message is customized for the individual.

Mobile and Text Messages

The prevalence of smartphones has made reaching out to users on their mobile devices an effective and essential channel for communicating with customers. Unfortunately, only 21.6% of collection companies are actively using text messaging as part of their outreach strategy! Even some of the largest agencies in the industry are only texting about ¼ of their customers. 

More than 65% of companies in the collections space that are not currently using text messaging as a channel are concerned about two things: a fear of being sued or not fully understanding what is and is not allowed of them. 

TrueAccord has taken steps to directly address these issues by hard-coding compliance parameters directly into our system, so we are able to securely reach our users where they are: on their phones. In fact, more than 85% of our web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets, and we are able to drive traffic to the right pages through push notifications on those devices. These notifications serve the same purpose as text messaging but are uniquely catered to that specific customer’s needs.

Web Portals

Portals and landing pages created for consumers should be exactly that: designed with them in mind. The vast majority of companies in the collections space have portals specifically designed for customers to manage their accounts, but 75% of those companies report remarkably low engagement through those pages. 

Creating an engaging portal means answering the question: “How can we make the experience personalized for the customer?” TrueAccord embraces this in its design methodology; Shannon Brown, TrueAccord’s Product Design Manager, says that our “we’re not pushing offers to them, we’re looking for information [about the nature of their debt] to customize for their needs.” Our design embraces our mission of giving consumer’s control of their financial health. 

You can learn all about TrueAccord’s design philosophy by listening to our full interview with Shannon here!

By focusing on developing interconnected, customized content that reaches users through multiple channels, we can reach consumers via email and mobile push notifications with the goal of bringing them back to our website. 

The debt collection industry at large has a long way to go to meet consumer expectations about financial services. Our machine learning algorithm optimizes which message to a customer to send on what channel, addressing those expectations and letting users manage their debt at their own pace. This is also why we work to provide our users with as much visibility into their debt as possible through easily accessible digital channels.

TrueAccord & CB Insights: Future of Fintech 2019

By on August 2nd, 2019 in Industry Insights

Ohad Samet, TrueAccord’s co-founder and CEO, joined thought leaders in fintech at CB Insight’s Future of Fintech 2019 conference. Learn everything you need to know about how TrueAccord is reinventing the collection experience.

TrueAccord is dedicated to revolutionizing the debt collection industry by redefining the user experience for consumers in debt collection. We work to empower consumers to regain control of their financial health and help them to better manage their financial future. Our product leverages machine learning for intelligent digital communications and empathy driven UX interfaces. 

The Debt Collection Market

Debt collection is an enormous market with nearly $13 billion in annual industry revenue. In the US alone, that equates to more than 17 million consumers per year who are impacted. These consumers are primarily pushed to provide payment by call centers which employ collectors —low-base, high-commission employees—who can contact a consumer to no end. 

Incessant contact from these collectors, whose own income is contingent upon collecting debts, can lead to anything from a rising number of complaints to the federal government to consumers exhibiting PTSD-like symptoms that are a direct result of feeling hunted by their collectors.

The Future of Collections

To combat this, we reimagine the collections experience. That difference comes from placing the consumer at the forefront of our collections strategy; the consumer is given the choice to engage with TrueAccord’s personalized, digital solutions at their own pace. 

This strategy empowers consumers to manage their debts in a way that makes sense for them and ultimately affords high customer satisfaction, whereby consumers feel that a weight has been lifted from them when they pay off their debt through TrueAccord. 

Machine Learning

By automating collections communications, we are able to craft a more personalized experience for our users. With over 6 million users on the platform, we use the aggregate data to better understand what makes each of those users distinct and how to best communicate with each individual that we service. The learning aspect of the platform continues beyond simple understanding; it makes our communication strategies more dynamic and can cater our content and outreach to each user.

User Experience

For TrueAccord, providing a positive user experience means being transparent and giving consumers the options they come to expect across other financial services. This is best represented by the fact that more than 80% of consumers on the platform are managing their account on mobile devices, not on the phone with agents. 

A positive user experience is just as necessary for TrueAccord’s creditor partners which have direct access and visibility into the inbound and outbound activity related to their debts as well as the amounts collected. 

Rules, Regulations, and Refreshing the Model

Samet recently served as a member of the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to assist in reviewing current collections rules and regulations using TrueAccord’s data. The CFPB is currently developing legislation that promotes our model; this legislation will severely restrict call center-based collections and will encourage adoption of digital channels instead.

With TrueAccord leading these changes, we aim to continue our rapid growth by setting industry standards and making debt collection a more empathetic experience. 

AI in Banking podcast: Machine Learning for Debt Collection and Personalized Messaging with Ohad Samet of TrueAccord

By on July 22nd, 2019 in Industry Insights

The latest AI in Banking podcast features our CEO Ohad Samet as he talks about personalized messaging, collection forecasting, as well as his thoughts on branding and customer retention.

https://soundcloud.com/aiinbanking/machine-learning-for-debt

5 Financial Steps to Take When Setting Up Your B2C Business

By on May 7th, 2019 in Industry Insights
Woman working in a coffee shop


Establishing a consumer-facing business involves a wide range of steps, which include creating products and services that customers need. There are also essential “behind the scenes” decisions you need to ensure solid financial management of your company.

#1: Establish Payment Options

There are many ways you can allow your customers to pay you. However, you need to set up accounts to allow you to accept most transactions. Think beyond the basics here. For example, do you wish to offer our customers a way to use automated payments? Perhaps you would like to set up tap and go type payments. Research your potential customers and their preferred payment methods, whether that’s online and/or in person.

#2: Get Taxes in Line Now

Establish a method for collecting and managing your business’s taxes. Do not overlook the importance of having an experienced professional managing the books, so hire an accountant and a bookkeeper to manage your financials for you. A professional can help you navigate through and stay up to date on the complexities of state-specific and federal tax regulations.

#3: Establish Payment Requirements

In most business to consumer situations, you’ll require payment at the time of service. However, many companies give  credit both in-house and through third party providers. It is important for you to establish any payment requirements, such as how much is due, when it is due, and what happens if nonpayment occurs.

#4: Make Payment Easy

Having a web portal or an app to properly manage the payment process is a critical factor for most business owners. If you do not have a way for customers to make payments on their account online, you are missing out on a large portion of buyers. Vendors like Square, Stripe and Klarna make it easy for you to accept credit card payments online, and some, including Square and Klarna, as well as Afterpay and Affirm, allow consumers to pay installments over time.  

#5: Establish a Collections Plan

Although you may not want to think about it, this is a common situation and need in today’s business world. Define what this needs to be—who will handle it, what type of collections activity you will use, and when accounts go into collections. You also want to facilitate a way for your customers to pay for their fees, if applicable. This doesn’t have to be resource-intensive nor hard to do with the right partner. That’s why at TrueAccord, our debt collection platform empowers businesses to easily place their accounts with us and recoup charged off losses.

TrueAccord’s 2018 Predictions for Debt Collections Market

By on February 1st, 2018 in Debt Collection, Industry Insights

The year 2017 was full of intriguing developments in the US debt collection industry.

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a report that revealed debt collection was the issue most complained about by American consumers. Along with mortgage-related complaints, debt collection makes up about half of the 1.2million issues raised with the CFPB since it started accepting complaints in 2011.
  • The Federal Communications Commission adopted a new set of rules aimed at shutting down robocalls, an engagement method which has long been used by traditional collection agencies.
  • And, despite a growing regulatory pressure matched by increasing consumer demand, the pace of technological and product innovation in the space remained slow.

As we move through the early weeks of 2018, it is time for us to assess how the debt collection landscape might change and advance in the coming year. Here are our predictions for the rest of 2018.

Levels of consumer debt in the United States will continue to rise

Midway through 2017, Nasdaq.com commented that consumer debt in the US was rising at an “alarming” pace. In the second week of 2018, it was clear that that trend shows no sign of slacking, as NowThis reported that credit card debt had reached an all-time high of $1.023trillion. Student loans have become the largest source of household debt outside of mortgages. The most recent reports indicate a total US student loan debt of $1.48 trillion – that’s an average of more than $37,000 per graduate. And the student loan delinquency rate is 11.2%.  Car loans are also rising. Automotive News confirmed in September that Americans owe $1.1tr in auto loans – a new record.  At the same time, the cost of consumer goods and services is also increasing. The cost of several major areas of household expenditure – including medical expenses, housing, and food and beverages – has increased faster than income growth since 2007. The American economy is strong and shows every sign of remaining so in the coming months. And while the economy remains strong, people across the nation will keep spending. The need for a new generation of consumer-centric, automated, technology-driven debt collection experiences has never been greater.

Traditional methods of debt collection will become progressively less effective

The total recovered by debt collectors has declined steadily in recent years, falling from $13.3billion in 2012 to $11.4bn in 2016. At the same time, the CFPB reports that the net credit card charge-off rate – a handy barometer of the efficiency of debt collection – has risen gradually from a low of 3.8% in the second quarter of 2015 to 4.9% in the second quarter of 2017. One of the reasons why less debt is being recovered is the methods which have traditionally been used. Telephone calls and letters are not how modern consumers want to be approached. They find it easier to block phone calls; they want an interactive, user-friendly solution that is tailored to their needs and allows them to use their preferred technology in a way and at a time that suits them.

There is an app for everything these days. The average internet user now spends more than two hours a day on social media and messaging services. All consumers are spending more and more time online and millennials, the largest demographic in debt today, spend an average of 223 minutes each day – more than three-and-a-half hours – on their mobile devices, up from 188 minutes in 2016. And yet the debt collection space has not seen the sort of technological innovations that will allow it to keep pace with this new mobile-first age. Agencies are reacting by consolidating for scale but, as the CFPB report stated, they are still using the same methods for collection.

The debt collection industry will need to start investing in technology and creating customer-centric experiences

To counter the above trends, it’s imperative that debt collection agencies invest in data-driven technology that allows them to learn about, and understand, the behavior of the consumer. In short, they need to ask themselves the following questions:

  •   How can we have a conversation with consumers?
  •   How do we track their behavior?
  •   How do we then adjust our strategy to ensure better results?

It’s not just millennials. Older demographics also want a more customer-friendly, consumer-focused approach that is driven by digital technology. Consumers want to pay off their debt, but they want to do it in a way and at a pace that is convenient for them.  There needs to be a shift in creating tools that make it easier to pay off debt, so more people will do it. That means investing in the technology that allows for a user-friendly, omnichannel approach.  Flexibility, convenience and a great user experience are key to more debt being recovered. The industry has to begin its shift to use technology, automate and implement user-centric approaches to collections to keep pace with increasing levels of debt and consumer preferences.  

The pace of Fintech innovation will continue to be high

While the gap between spending and debt collection by traditional agencies continues to grow because of a reliance on outdated methods, in the banking and investment spheres there has been a large number of entrants that have quickly gained market share.  The wealth management space has seen disruption by newcomers such as Wealthfront, RobinHood, and Betterment offering financial planning and investing for just about anyone.  By lowering the barrier to entry and creating great user experiences they have been able to quickly penetrate the market and to go head to head with the more traditional established firms.  Challenger brands such LendingClub and SoFi are also re-imagining the lending pace, making it easier for consumers to access alternative loans.  These disruptors are bringing great marketing and compelling user experiences as a way to differentiate and gain market share with much smaller teams. As a result, they are challenging and changing consumers’ behavior. The debt collection industry needs to aspire to a similar agility simply to be able to keep pace with this hi-tech innovation.

Emerging companies will need to devise strategies to tackle debt collection

Emerging brands in the consumer space who are looking to grow retention and advocacy will need to address the issue of debt collection. They need to absorb the lessons of the current landscape and integrate optimal collection practices into their customer proposition sooner than later. As well as recovering more debt, this process will by definition help to increase customer retention. Emerging brands tend to focus first on growth and, as a result, they lack the expertise to carry out collections in-house and do not relate to traditional agencies’ methods and values. While they are focusing on their core offering, it is important that they embrace a more forward-looking method of debt collection. They will need collections processes that align with their organizational core values and their customer’s preferences, putting more pressure for innovation in the collections space.

Podcast: Creating a Positive Impact in Debt Collection Using Technology and Building Consumer-Centric Experiences

By on January 29th, 2018 in Compliance, Debt Collection, Industry Insights, Machine Learning, Product and Technology

Our CEO, Ohad Samet’s, recorded a podcast with Lend Academy discussing the positive impact technology is creating in the collections space and the need for more innovation. Will discuss TrueAccord’s unique approach to debt collection using data-driven, digital communications to create deeply personalized consumer experiences.  The podcast also covers the current state of the collections industry and where it’s likely headed as regulatory pressure, consumer preferences and compliance requirements converge.  Will cover how TrueAccord is using machine learning to deliver deeply personalized and engaging experiences for consumers while achieving higher recovery rates across various debt types.

Tune in and learn:

  • The state of the debt collection industry today and where it’s headed
  • How the use of machine learning is personalizing the debt collections experience for greater conversions
  • Why code-driven compliance outperforms traditional collections practices by reducing risk to organizations
  • How understanding consumers’ preferences for easy, self-service options with flexibility empowers  more consumers to pay off their debt and get on a path to financial health 

If you’re rather read the transcript, download it here.

Using Your Tax Refund To Repay Debt: Taking a Consumer-Centric Approach

By on January 23rd, 2018 in Debt Collection, Industry Insights

How appropriate is it that the Tax Season starts on December 31st?  The day before so many of us gear up for our New Year’s resolutions, often involving some sort of fitness goals or better eating habits, but sometimes the best intentions can fall flat, according to US News 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February.

There are clear similarities between the mindset that will help you to achieve your fitness goals and the one required to pay off a debt successfully. It’s all about pacing yourself and setting realistic expectations in the beginning. If you set an over-ambitious goal and aim too high, there’s a greater chance that you will quickly become disheartened and abandon your campaign. By setting a steady pace and you will feel accomplished, motivated to keep going, with a much greater likelihood of a positive long-term outcome.

Set realistic goals   

We know you that many of you intend to use your tax refunds to pay down your debt. According to a survey conducted by Credit Karma 62% or those surveyed expect to get a tax refund, and 40% of those plan to spend the money to pay down their debt.  We want to help you be successful, and help turn your intentions into actions.  TrueAccord will start the conversation early, using positive and encouraging content to motivate you towards getting started. We know you have choices to make, and we know that by building trust and creating a positive conversation we can help you to get started with your repayment process, and towards your better financial future.

TrueAccord approach

TrueAccord is leading the way in providing new, easy, digital, customer-focused ways for debt collections process.  We are building a process that fits your needs.  But even when you do want to pay it off, it can be really hard to get started.  You may feel overwhelmed, fear it will take forever, after all, average credit card rates today are around 12.5%, significantly adding to the length of time and payment amounts. This is where the flexibility of payment plans and the best digital user-experience sets us apart from any other collections process you may have experienced.

The power of positive communications and UX

We’re not like traditional, old-fashioned agencies who turn up the heat by making more calls and sending more letters. This is not a user experience that will motivate people to take action, in fact, it can do quite the opposite.

TrueAccord starts the conversation as early as December, building on your own intentions and keeping debt repayment at the top of your mind.  We focus on encouraging messages personalized to individual situations, with the built-in flexibility needed to figure out what will work for each consumer.  And we give you the tools that make it fast and easy to repay, with on-demand access to a personalized dashboard via a mobile phone, tablet or desktop. It’s part of our mission to redefine the debt collection process by making it more personal and user-friendly.

Choices for a personalized approach 

TrueAccord offers a variety of payment plans on a regular basis, and during the tax season, we test more options to give you more ways to get engaged.  Some of you may pick to pay a larger sum up front and then smaller amounts going forward, or you may set up the first payment in advance of the refund day, or start out with smaller amounts and gradually increase over time. We test different messages and offer a variety of options to see what works; it’s all part of the personal approach. Again, the similarities with a New Year fitness campaign are compelling. Everybody has a different target and a variety of ways and means to get there. But as long as you feel better, fitter and happier with your financial world by the end of the process, we’ll be happy too.

Welcome 2018!

By on January 5th, 2018 in Company News, Culture

Happy New Year! As we look back at 2017, we are thankful for a year full of growth for the company and for our team.  We hit some amazing milestones that could not have been possible without a smart, strong, passionate and dedicated team.

December is a month of celebrations, and we had an amazing holiday party to end the year.  We shed our casual work attire and had fun dressing to the nines and dancing the night away.

Of course, December is also a great time to give back and help those less fortunate.  We partnered with the San Francisco Fire Department for their Annual SFFD Holiday Toy Drive and were able to provide gifts to a number of program recipients. There are a few of us here at TrueAccord who benefitted from this program as kids, so it was awesome to see things come full circle. The SFFD Toy Program has been in operation since 1949 and strives to ensure all kids have a great holiday season full of toys. The team loved the idea of giving back and we hope to do more events like this in the future.

Our team continues to grow, we welcomed the final hires for 2017: Aviv Peretz, Senior Data Scientist / Cherlynne Serafino-King, Talen Acquisition Partner /Rocky Chau, Customer Engagement Specialist

Looking forward to what 2018 has in store.