The Customer Payments Platform (CPP) has transformed payment transactions with the NSW Government benefiting customers, businesses, and agencies.
We spoke with Vishal Sisodiya, A/Director, Government Technology Platforms Payments at DCS to learn how the CPP has improved processing times, slashed costs, and provided a consistent payment solution for customers.
What is the Customer Payments Platform?
The CPP is a digital solution that provides the customer with a consistent payment experience across NSW Government. It provides the customer with the flexibility to use a wide range of payment options of their choosing.
What was the process before the CPP?
Previously, banking across agencies was dominated by one supplier and this major financial institution had been the successful vendor with NSW Treasury for more than 80 years. This long-term agreement did not provide competitive advantage in the marketplace, as a result, our customers were limited to payment options like traditional cards and BPAY.
In the last tender process DCS, along with NSW Treasury, set up a process that de-coupled the agency from the payment platform provided by the banking supplier. We built the CPP to be centralised, so all agencies were able to use the platform.
The Service NSW Payment Services Platform (PSP) was not stable especially with the business growing. We needed something modular, stable and resilient to take the growing number of customer online transactions, which this platform delivers. Not only is it central, but it is robust in a way that it could make Whole of Government payment transactions, not just for agencies within DCS.
What has been the uptake of the CPP?
There are now 20 agencies that have adopted CPP, and we plan to have the Whole of Government adopt CPP within the next three years.
What are the benefits to the customer and the NSW Government?
Because the CPP is a central platform and with the sheer volume of transactions that comes with that, we leverage volume discounts with payment providers.
When we go to PayPal and have 50 million transactions, we can negotiate the best offer. Individual agencies are therefore not having to negotiate the best rate, we do it for NSW agencies collectively. These savings are then passed on to the NSW customers.
How much has the NSW Government saved?
Our business cases estimates that we will save $100 million across all of Government once all agencies are migrated to CPP.
These savings will not only come from the ability to negotiate better rates, but savings come from efficiencies that come with automation. You don't require people in the back office or finance reconciling their own payments, so those people could be deployed somewhere else.
The biggest value that we get is around efficiencies across government. Previously a project might take six to eight weeks to set up. In comparison, by plugging into CPP, we can achieve set up within 48 hours. This results in massive project savings.
Additionally, there are savings through compliance. All agencies that collect payments must go through PCI-DSS (regulatory body) audit every year. This process costs money and failing to comply results in fines and reputational damage. With CPP, DCS manages this process on behalf of agencies, which saves both time and money.
How are businesses saving with the CPP?
Typically, small to medium businesses and enterprises' average transaction value is large. For example, if a business wants to renew their liquor licence. Sometimes the payments would go into millions.
If we take Woolworths Group who owns Dan Murphy's and BWS, as an example, it costs them nearly $1 million every time they need to renew all their premises.
Previously this would be paid via a cheque. The overall cost of processing that cheque was around $25 to $30 and it would also take about 10 days to process that payment.
With the introduction payment method Pay ID, payments are made in real time from the business bank account. If you didn't have Pay ID, the only real time payment option the business has is a card transaction and the surcharge for $1 million goes into the thousands.
So that's where the business pays a lot to interact with government.
When we implemented Pay ID, it costs the business $0.50 no matter what the amount was.
CPP soon will give you a wallet of all your payment instruments stored in a safe manner in one place. In future, customers will come into a Service NSW Centre and will have all the things that you need to pay in one dashboard.
Additionally, you can make the payments you require in real time with a payment option of your choosing.
Has the CPP changed how customers received rebates?
Yes, rebates and grants go through the CPP platform as well. This is where customers get the money into their account directly.
In the last six months, 12 to 15 rebates used this platform to send out payments to customers. The Job Saver Program, bushfire payment, mouse plague and small business support.
We were able to support Transport for NSW with their taxi rebates because they were using our system. If other agencies doing smaller rebates plug into the Service NSW CPP, this process becomes viable because the payment system becomes easy and consistent across government.
How does the data the CPP receives support decision making?
Because the CPP is centralised, we receive data which is valuable. Data in terms of, do our customers use Amex or PayPal more?
Those analytics supports NSW Treasury to drive policy decisions. If one provider's costs are going high, we can negotiate with another provider for a better rate.âWe can leverage the insights we are receiving, and we don't need to ask our customers or our banking provider.
What did you learn through this process?
The biggest lesson was getting the right stakeholders on board right from the start. There has been a real collaboration between NSW Treasury and DCS to make CPP work for the Whole of Government.
The Queensland and South Australian Governments have reached out wanting to learn from our experience. We've learned along the way, and I'm pleased we are helping other agencies to do the same.
Digital Restart Fund is key to CPP expansion
To realise the full benefits of the $100 million across government, CPP was granted almost $3 million from the Digital Restart Fund to further enhance the product.
The Digital Restart Fund administered by the DCS funds multi-disciplinary approaches to planning, designing and developing digital products and services in NSW. It encourages projects that use modern methodology and fosters customer-driven business transformation and collaboration across the NSW Government sector.