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.

Ohad Samet Named to Inaugural Debt Collection Advisory Committee of the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI)

By on May 19th, 2021 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

Ohad Samet, CEO and cofounder of TrueAccord Group, has been named to the inaugural debt collection advisory committee of the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI). The debt collection advisory committee is a new seven-member board that will provide critical feedback to the DFPI as it stands up its debt collection licensing program.

“I look forward to working with the DFPI, a new and influential regulator, to think through consumer protection and choice in tough times,” said Samet. “Consumer protection will be especially important this year, as we emerge from the pandemic and direct economic aid to consumers decreases. The debt collection advisory committee will be working to make sure that all consumers facing debt collection in California are treated fairly and equitably.”

“Since its founding, TrueAccord has been committed to sharing consumer feedback and data about the use of technology in debt collection,” added Samet. “At TrueAccord, we’ve been able to demonstrate that consumers across the country like email and text, actively choose to use digital channels, and feel empowered by these tools while enjoying improved protection. Similar to other facets of consumer protection like privacy regulation, I expect that the rules coming out of the DFPI may end up impacting consumers nationwide.”

The debt collection advisory committee members represent a cross-section of industry experts, including five industry representatives, one consumer advocate, and one law and economics professor who studies the industry. Notably, three of the industry members, including TrueAccord, are RMAI certified businesses, demonstrating a preference for businesses with independently-audited, documented best practices.

“I look forward to working with this group representing diverse stakeholders in the debt collection industry,” said DFPI Commissioner Manuel P. Alvarez. “The committee’s perspectives and advice will be critical in helping the Department effectively oversee debt collectors and protect consumers.”

The committee members were appointed for two-year terms pursuant to Financial Code Section 100025 adopted by passage the Debt Collection Licensing Act (DCLA). The committee has scheduled its first meeting for July 28, 2021 and is expected to meet twice per year or as needed. For more details, refer to the DFPI’s official announcement.

About TrueAccord
Founded in 2013, TrueAccord’s data-driven debt collection platform is disrupting the collection industry by helping businesses collect more debt online than traditional methods. TrueAccord’s platform is powered by machine learning with a decision engine that analyzes consumer behavior and delivers personalized and empathetic consumer experiences. By communicating at the right time in the right channel with payment options that meet consumer needs, TrueAccord provides exceptional recovery rates for top 10 financial institutions, debt buyers, lenders, and technology companies. TrueAccord empowers many of the estimated 77 million consumers who are in debt every year to get on a path to better financial health. To learn more, go to http://www.trueaccord.com.

Regulators Care As Much About Consumer Preference in Debt Collection as Creditors

By on March 25th, 2021 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

Recent regulatory activity makes it clear: regulators care as much about consumer preference in debt collection as creditors. In this blog post, Kelly Knepper-Stephens, TrueAccord’s VP Legal & Compliance, highlights the recent laws and regulations designed to protect consumer preferences in debt collection.

At a time when consumers’ power to impact a lender has increased dramatically, Klarna made the decision to outsource 1,005 of its debt collection activities. Jan Hansson, Vice President Debt Collection for Klarna, recently explained the reasoning behind that decision in TrueAccord’s recent webinar, Digital Debt Collections 101.

Jan explained how Klarna manages brand image with its collection partners, using “soft value metrics” to evaluate success, such as the number of consumers who return to use Klarna after having been in debt collection on a Klarna product. The fact that consumers return to Klarna after being in debt collection demonstrates that collections can be a positive process. Jan emphasized the importance of ensuring that debt collection is aligned with your total customer journey “so that any debt collection continues to build on your positive brand image.”

Honoring a customer’s debt collection preferences is the key. As Ohad Samet, founder of TrueAccord stated in Digital Debt Collections 101, “customers want to be contacted at the time and place and channel that is convenient to them…they would like to be in control of that.”

Federal and state lawmakers, who continue to pass laws and regulations designed to protect consumer preferences in debt collection, share the same consumer preference mindset of creditors like Klarna. A quick look at the most recent federal activity showcases this fact.

The CFPB’s Debt Collection Rule
On November 30, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), published Regulation F, the first attempt to refresh the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for modern communications. Debt collectors and creditors have until November 2021 to align their processes to these new rules, which are chock-full of efforts to protect consumer preference including:
• Requirements to uphold and pass on consumer requests to stop calls, not be contacted at certain times, and not be communicated with at particular locations (home, work, etc.)
• Steps to identify a consumer’s location to ensure communications occur between 8AM – 9PM, including when a consumer’s zip code and area code suggest different time zones
• Requirements for clear and conspicuous ways to unsubscribe from text messaging, emails, and other forms of digital communications
• Frequency restrictions, not just for calls, but for the frequency of contact efforts in the entire outbound communication strategy.

Fortunately for TrueAccord, our digital debt collection strategy was built for consumer preference and already meets most of the rule’s new requirements. As Ohad mentioned in the webinar, 96% of all TrueAccord communications are automated, and the other 4% are inbound communications, which makes our Customer Engagement team a customer care center.

The TRACED Act
In response to continued consumer complaints and pressure over unwanted robocalls, Congress passed the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act in 2019 to deter and punish robocall abuse. The law required the FCC to adopt and publish regulations that “help protect a subscriber from receiving unwanted calls or text messages from a caller using an unauthenticated number,” which the agency did in late 2020. The provisions of the TRACED Act and its implementing FCC regulations ultimately aim to increase consumer choice options mostly around the ability to identify and block unwanted calls by:
• Requiring carriers to implement the call authentication framework of STIR/SHAKEN which allows the consumer to identify the identity of an inbound caller;
• Requiring carriers to implement a reassigned number database so that companies can determine, in advance of calling, whether a given phone number for a consumer has been reassigned to a different person.

We are just now beginning to see companies, including telephone carriers, announce their compliance practices to implement these FCC Orders. For example, contact center platform service provider Twilio, headquartered in San Francisco, recently announced updates to their terms of service and acceptable use policy. At least one carrier, T-Mobile, has gone as far as to ban debt collection text messages as reported by InsideARM.

As lawmakers and lenders focus on consumer preference, successful debt collection compliance programs must incorporate consumer preferences into their practices not only to meet the new regulatory requirements, but also to provide a positive customer experience that consumers expect.

TrueAccord Group Welcomes Courtney Graham as Chief People Officer

By on February 8th, 2021 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

TrueAccord Group has announced Courtney Graham, former Chief People Officer of Four Winds Interactive, as its new Chief People Officer. 

“Our family of companies is growing rapidly, and we are thrilled to have Courtney on board as our first Chief People Officer. Courtney’s experience as a People leader within high-growth technology companies will be instrumental in helping TrueAccord scale while maintaining a strong people-first culture,” said Ohad Samet, CEO and co-founder of TrueAccord Group.  “We are on a mission to empower consumers to get to financial fitness, and that mission begins with our team. Courtney is a compassionate, engagement-focused leader who will undoubtedly bolster our culture of empowerment, empathy, and inclusivity.” 

“We all know that a great company is not just about the product or service. A great company is when innovative offerings and incredibly talented, productive people collide. In my experience, that’s often when the ‘magic’ happens,” said Courtney Graham. “I am delighted to be part of the TrueAccord team and am excited to build an inclusive work community that we all want to be part of.”

Courtney Graham joins a world-class leadership team that includes Ohad Samet, Sheila Monroe (COO and CEO of TrueAccord Corp), Gene Linetsky (CTO), Noah Barr (CFO), Laura Marino (CPO), Charles Deutsch (GM of Financial Services), and Nadav Samet as CIO and CEO of True Life Solutions, which launched the game-changing consumer product, Engage.

In 2020, TrueAccord Group added 146 new hires and is continuing to expand in 2021, with hundreds of open positions across engineering, product, sales, client services, and operations. See all open positions and apply here: https://www.trueaccord.com/about-us/careers/  

About TrueAccord
Founded in 2013, TrueAccord’s data-driven debt collection platform is disrupting the collections industry by helping businesses collect more debt online than traditional methods. TrueAccord’s platform is powered by machine learning with a decision engine that analyzes consumer behavior and delivers personalized and empathetic consumer experiences. By communicating at the right time in the right channel with payment options that meet consumer needs, TrueAccord provides exceptional recovery rates for top 10 financial institutions, debt buyers, lenders, and technology companies. TrueAccord empowers many of the estimated 77 million consumers who are in debt every year to get on a path to better financial health. To learn more, go to https://www.trueaccord.com.

Webinar: Digital Debt Collections 101 with Klarna and TrueAccord

By on February 1st, 2021 in Industry Insights

Watch the full recording here, or read on to learn more about this webinar.

Poor customer experience. Compliance challenges. Reputational risk. These are some of the factors that have prevented lending organizations – from areas as diverse as Fintech, utilities, service organizations, property management, telecommunications, and more – from investing in debt collections.

But ongoing financial uncertainty has led many of these organizations to seek innovative approaches to improve consumer financial health and solvency. And in contrast to traditional collections methodologies, digital debt collection offers the promise of a superior consumer experience that drives engagement, results, and ultimately brand loyalty.

How should companies new to digital collections get started? On January 28, TrueAccord hosted a webinar to tackle this timely question. Our featured guest was Jan Hansson (Vice President Debt Collection, Klarna), a veteran of the debt collections space. Jan has decades of operating experience in collections, including leadership roles within Klarna for the past 12 years.

In this webinar, Jan spoke with Ohad Samet (Co-founder and CEO, TrueAccord) about Klarna’s journey into digital debt collection. They discussed the transformational impact that digital collections have delivered for Klarna, particularly around consumer experience and loyalty — and share advice for other organizations looking to embark on a similar journey.

Watch the full webinar here.

The Four Trends Making Digital Debt Collections a Necessity

By on January 19th, 2021 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

The following is an excerpt from our recent ebook, Ten Critical Questions:
The Buyer’s Guide to Digital Debt Collection Solutions
. To download the full ebook, click here.

Consumer behavior and expectations have undergone significant changes over the past few years – trends that COVID has only accelerated. For lending organizations, the end result of these changes is that digital collections have shifted from a “nice to have” into a must-have.

Here are the four consumer trends that are disrupting the traditional collections model and making digital-first collections a necessity:

Consumers are digital-first.

The decline of the landline has made it harder to reliably reach consumers at home. And advances in mobile technology (e.g., call blocking) have made it easier for consumers to screen calls. As a result, right-party contact rates are low and continuing to decline. In fact, 78% of collection agents see their calls blocked, and 74% of collection agents see their calls marked as “Spam or Fraud.” (Source: ACA)

What this means for lending organizations
Organizations must embrace a multi-channel digital approach that meets customers where they are, empowering them to respond at their own convenience.

Consumers won’t accept one-size-fits-all treatment.

The explosion of personalization in marketing (from product recommendations to programmatic advertising) means that consumers expect to be communicated with as individuals, in a way that is relevant and tailored to them.

What it means for lending organizations
Organizations must seek out a digital collections approach that tailors messages and outreach to individual consumers.

Consumers expect a seamless, self-serve experience.

From Amazon to Instacart, consumers have become accustomed to being able to do everything digitally – without interacting with a human being.

What it means for lending organizations
It’s not enough to communicate with customers over digital channels. A digital collections solution must offer a robust and intuitive self-service interface that enables customers to engage in their own time.

There are now major logistical challenges in scaling the contact center model.

With COVID limiting in-person interactions, it’s more challenging than ever to hire, train, house, and monitor contact center agents – creating obstacles with the traditional agency model.

What it means for lending organizations
A digital collections solution must be built for scalability, enabling organizations to meet collections volume without adding agents to make outbound calls.

For more insights on digital collections, download our recent ebook, Ten Critical Questions: The Buyer’s Guide to Digital Debt Collection Solutions.

Digital Collections Roadmap for 2021

By on January 8th, 2021 in Industry Insights

As we begin 2021, we’re looking ahead and seeing a lot to be optimistic about in the world of collections. Our industry is becoming more innovative and more consumer-focused. Digital channels, self-serve options, & machine learning create a new industry normal in which both collectors and consumers can succeed.

Get on the path to becoming a best-in-class collector this year. We’ve compiled our favorite tools and resources into a Digital Collections Roadmap. The resources on this map will help you assess your current processes, learn about industry benchmarks, and build a more innovative and consumer-focused collections operations in 2021.

Download the roadmap here.