As the postal industry continues to evolve and becomes more reliant on the introduction of digital services, it’s essential that the Post Office meets changing customer needs. Isle of Man Post Office (IOMPO) is a trusted, innovative and forward-thinking business. It is committed to using state-of-the-art customer-focused technologies to protect their traditional services and to bring new services to market.
IOMPO has undertaken the payment of government disbursement services in cash through its retail Post Offices for as long as anyone can remember. This accounted for a third of the island’s government disbursement recipients, who collectively exceeded 500,000 transactions annually. So when the government communicated its desire to move the payment of government disbursement recipients to automated methods, IOMPO knew it had to move quickly to protect this business. The potential loss of these transactions created a real risk that its retail network would become financially unviable and lead to Post Office closures.
IOMPO pioneered a method where it could maintain government disbursement payments through the Retail Network while saving the Isle of Man government (Social Security Division of Treasury) £1/4m of costs annually in terms of printing, postage, and processing of the paper-based government disbursement vouchers.
An Escher Group customer since 2003, with 70 terminals and 13 self-service kiosks across its Post Office Retail Network, IOMPO already had run Web Riposte® as a trusted epost solution. The new methodology combined this established Riposte® technology with Escher’s eMoney solution. eMoney is a digital payment management system which is fully auditable and compliant with government standards. It also offers the opportunity to be a provider of government cards with the capability of multiple government and commercial uses.
The combined systems form a method enabling government disbursement payments using near field communication (NFC) technology in the form of IOMPO’s MiCard. The MiCard is an ID token which, once associated with an individual through an enrollment process, enables Riposte® technology to present to the counter clerk any government disbursement payments the recipient is due at any time. The MiCard replaces the former system of payment via cheques based on paper vouchers, using automated information sharing which allows the government to administer a payment on their enterprise system, and make this available to a customer instantly at their preferred Post Office. This is more secure, more convenient and helps deliver significant efficiencies within the Social Security Division (SSD) by removing the overhead necessary to produce and process payment vouchers.
MiCard provides a fully-auditable, secure, digital solution that complies with statutory regulations such as Data Protection and Anti-Money Laundering.
MiCard is an example of the government and Post Office working together to improve the customer experience. We are confident that MiCard has delivered a robust, convenient, secure way to access government disbursement payments. These customers benefit from the improved service and convenient access to government disbursements through retained local post offices as well as improved fraud protection and the possibility of emergency payments; Treasury benefits from the efficiencies gained and the Post Office benefits by continuing to provide payment collections across its established retail network.
Julie Edge MHK, Chairman of Isle of Man Post Office.
MiCard was initially piloted with 400 customers at two post offices over three months, before being extended to all post office customers. Upon approval, MiCard was rolled out to all 8,000 customers as their sole instrument of receiving government disbursement payments. Once recipients have enrolled, they receive and activate their MiCard by simply presenting it to their usual Post Office. A choice of either PIN entry or signatures can be used to validate transactions. Customers then receive their government disbursement payment.
With the government’s decision to rollout to the island’s users, the IOMPO was able to retain footfall and their retail network, thus saving some 500,000 transactions.
The customer enrollment process was developed to both cleanse and update SSD customer records, while minimising inconvenience to customers. Enrolment was phased throughout the island to minimise the support costs for both IOMPO and SSD, inclusive of an extensive PR campaign. SSD initially wrote to prompt recipients to enroll for their MiCard, clearly explaining the process. Feedback from social security customers, post offices and Treasury alike has been very positive.
The success of MiCard has led the IOMPO to consider the wider opportunities for individuals, government and businesses, for the IOMPO to maintain key customer information, and provide a secure means for customers to assert their identity to access government and/or business services. There are many practical uses, such as when dealing with banks, utility companies, and government departments. This solution could easily be extended to use for school meals, travel cards, government sponsored facilities, prescription entitlement etc. IOMPO is also exploring options to augment the physical MiCard with a digital identity token to provide customer choice as to how they choose to assert their identity to access these services, face-to-face or ‘not in person’, available by phone or online.
Isle of Man Post Office
Isle of Man Post Office is a dynamic, forward-thinking and innovative postal business which has been committed to enabling people to communicate internationally from the Isle of Man since it became a postal administration in 1973. With approximately 350 staff, the Isle of Man Post Office team is a knowledgeable, skilled and loyal workforce who can offer customers traditional postal services, retail facilities to providing digital communication means to a wide range of sectors from blue chip companies, government to banking, insurance and eGaming industries. Each area has the expertise to deal with customers’ needs and enquiries.&nbps;