For UK government institutions such as councils and universities, serving a market of “every citizen” means it’s important to make it easy for users from all walks of life to connect with their operations. These organisations rely on the funds they receive from the public, but payment processing is often a struggle for those that are still operating on legacy technologies. HeyCentric was founded by a team experienced in government-payments provisioning that saw a need for modernised integrations.
“In our industry, we’re not asking somebody to make a payment,” said Gareth Ennis, CEO of HeyCentric. “These people have to make payments. You have to pay your council tax. You have to pay your business rates. It matters to all citizens to make things more efficient for our customers.”
The team behind HeyCentric had seen many councils stuck on payments platforms that were not usable on mobile devices and offered inflexible payment options. By offering a modern payments platform, HeyCentric could deliver a better experience for citizens and provide smarter income-management services for its government customers.
“Choosing an income-management system is not something councils or educators do regularly, so it’s a big decision to change [systems],” Ennis said. “When we saw how we could offer real-time transparency and visibility across every transaction, while simplifying reconciliations and reporting, we knew we could make a difference for the whole community. We just needed to find the right platform to take care of the transaction process in a way that aligned with our needs.”
HeyCentric had expertise in the UK market, but with aspirations toward global expansion, the team prioritised finding a payment partner that could help the company expand into Europe and other regions.
After exploring a variety of payment service providers in the market, HeyCentric chose Stripe as its exclusive payment partner when it went live with its first customer in November 2021.
“With Stripe as both a payment service provider and an acquirer, it’s a game changer for customer experience,” said Ennis. “I’ve seen councils where it takes five or six different screens to make a council tax payment. On HeyCentric, we’ve completely simplified the process so it’s really easy, thanks to Stripe.”
Single user dashboard through Stripe integrations
HeyCentric designed its service to operate using Stripe Connect, creating a one-stop dashboard for its clients so they didn’t need to manage accounts across both HeyCentric and Stripe. “Stripe’s documentation and testing environments are amazing,” Ennis said. “It made it so easy to get everything up and running. Integration was only a matter of weeks.”
HeyCentric uses Stripe APIs and webhooks to bring all transaction information into customer records in real time, adding metadata and importing more detailed organisational bank records to match payments to invoices and automate the majority of reconciliation work. This also gives customers an easy way to understand transaction fees and other accounting insights without waiting days to know their revenue status.
“When a council receives a payment for £1,000, they get visibility on what fees have been deducted. These even get broken down by line item so they can charge the fees to departments. Accountants absolutely love that,” Ennis said.
Real-time insight into every transaction
With its integrations deeply linked to Stripe’s services, HeyCentric offers its customers access to real-time data for every attempted payment. This transaction intelligence includes analysis of fraud detection through Stripe Radar, chargeback insights, and other issues that may have caused payment attempts to fail.
“If a citizen calls their council and says they tried to make a payment, the staff member can log into HeyCentric, call up the payment, and see the actual reason Stripe got from the bank for why it failed. With older systems, they might have had to ring their provider to learn more,” Ennis said. “In councils, they’re also used to procuring separate fraud prevention toolkits. But through HeyCentric, they get one out of the box, thanks to Stripe.”
Payment flexibility grows stronger every day
Since HeyCentric went live, it has worked to align with Stripe’s product roadmap so it can offer an expanding set of payment options as quickly as possible. For example, HeyCentric has offered its customers recurring payments with Stripe Billing and also added popular payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
The company has already rolled out 100 Stripe Terminal devices to integrate chip-and-PIN payments at council offices. HeyCentric is also piloting a mobile-payments program with one council customer, to help councils accept payments from vulnerable citizens who struggle to visit in person or use online payment systems.
Helping 22 customers perform 1.7 million transactions
With Stripe, HeyCentric provides public-sector customers with an easy-to-use payments system that makes it simple for citizens to pay important bills. By replacing the clunky legacy systems many public institutions relied on previously, HeyCentric enables government entities to streamline their payment processes and offer a variety of payment methods suited to the needs of today’s public.
Stripe has given HeyCentric the power to resolve customer service issues in a variety of scenarios, from integrated recurring billing to in-person payments. In less than two years, HeyCentric has gone live with 22 customers, performing over 1.7 million transactions and processing £450 million in transaction volume through Stripe.
Zero downtime during regulatory changes
Stripe’s cadence of launching new features has helped HeyCentric steadily release updates for its customers and stay ahead of the curve on important regulatory requirements.
“We regularly see lots of small upgrades coming through from Stripe that are seamless. There’s never been any downtime for us,” Ennis said. “When we launched, we knew the strong Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) regulation was coming, with Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). Other providers were charging customers for that upgrade, but Stripe just did it all. It could have been quite a worrying time, but Stripe took away all those worries for us.”
Simple path toward international expansion
HeyCentric hopes to expand into North America in the future, and it knows that Stripe will make this an easier process. With its core systems now running smoothly, through close integration with Stripe’s payment services, HeyCentric is making payments more efficient for its customers and the citizens they serve.
It’s easy to take a payment from someone. But to follow that payment with transparency and accountability within the customer’s system in real time is the trick. We’ve been able to make that a reality so effectively, because of how well Stripe works with HeyCentric.