One of the most interesting cost-saving initiatives to be showcased at the recent Asia Pacific Cities Summit was a Brisbane innovation with the potential to save businesses and local governments millions of dollars.
With the cost of producing and distributing paper bills skyrocketing, it makes sense to do it digitally – but how can you be assured it is also safe?
Brisbane-based technology company Sniip was established in 2013 and saw #2015APCS as a fantastic opportunity to release details of a new app that allows people to pay bills securely on their mobile phone simply by scanning a QR code.
Sniip’s Lisa Hardie said research showed eight in 10 phones in Australia were smartphones and an increasing number of people wanted to pay bills on their mobile device.
“But consumers don’t want to download an app that’s been built around a bank or credit card and they certainly don’t want to enter their credit card details into a mobile every time they make a payment,” she added.
“The Sniip app safely stores credit card details on the individual’s mobile phone with payments processed by a four-digit security code after the user scans a trademarked QR code.”
Sniip already has over 90 retailers signed to the app and is working towards solutions for several local governments.
Graham McStay, from Forma Express, also spoke at APCS and explained how the ever-increasing cost of billing must inevitably be passed on to the customer. For instance, he said some utilities forked out up to seven dollars each time a customer paid their bill in person at a postal centre. It’s convenient for consumers, but costly for organisations.
“It’s not cost-effective. While paper will never be eliminated, we can make it valuable by making it transactional,” he told the Enabling Cities for Digital Decisions session at the summit,” Mr McStay said.
“Reduced collection costs are just one advantage (of electronic delivery and payment of bills), you also get historical reporting and archive opportunities.”
Faisal Omar, Director of Sydney’s FMO Consulting, said we would hit four billion mobile users globally this year and provided examples of where the application of digital technology across local governments internationally was already making a huge difference to transactional services.
“I like to look at the mobile phone as the seven Cs – credentials, contract, commerce, content, context, connectivity and communications,” Mr Omar said.
“Every unique device is tied to a person’s identity.
“Dubai e-government started in 2006 and there are over 90 government services already mobile.”
He said the Kenyan government was pushing for 60 per cent of state services to go online by the end of 2015.
“As an example, $24 million is transacted each day and their mobile payment system processes 46 per cent of Kenya’s GDP each year,” he said.
“Mobile is growing so fast because it is highly ubiquitous, quickly scalable, multichannel, portable, versatile and evolutionary technology.”
Brisbane City Council is certainly keen on harnessing the many benefits of digital.
“Many people live increasingly busy lives and the thought of having to go to a customer service centre, make a phone call or try to enter credit card on a web page on their phone may not be everyone’s cup of tea,” Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said recently.
“What’s important is that we offer choice and through working with technology companies like Sniip we are attempting to provide zero-cost solutions to our ratepayers at a low cost to council.”