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Co-operative Energy is an energy provider supplying gas and electricity to domestic customers across England, Scotland and Wales. The business was established 3 years ago and is part of the Midcounties Co-operative, the largest independent co-operative in the UK. As an energy supplier, Co-operative Energy is committed to providing energy with fair pricing and easy-to-understand tariffs.
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"I am so impressed that this system took such a short time to implement and has made our collection operation so much more effective on so many levels."

By Caroline McGovern, Credit Manager at Co-operative Energy.

The Challenge

In the early days of Co-operative Energy, payments were made via cheque as this was perceived as the most compliant form of money collection. Due to the decline in paying via a cheque, largely a result of the emergence of telephone and online banking, Co-operative Energy had to change their ways and offer an easier method to take payments. However, they then had the added complexity of PCI DSS and ensuring their environment was fully de-scoped.

Caroline McGovern, Credit Manager at Co-operative Energy, is passionate about offering outstanding customer experience for existing members, as well as being sympathetic to members with payment difficulties.

Caroline said: “It was so frustrating for members that were contacted by the collections team for payment and then were offered no easy means to make that payment. We have online payment options via client accounts, but we found that this was not a popular option for older members and we also have to be sympathetic to members without private and regular access to the Internet.”


In terms of staffing efficiency, processing cheques was a lengthy process and the time delays of cheques clearing meant debtor days weren’t at their optimum level.

Co-operative Energy needed a solution to be implemented fast as their aggressive growth rate meant the demand for efficient payment collection was critical. PCI compliance was another area that the Co-operative Energy soon realised was a mammoth task and one they could not achieve on their own

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The Solution

BCH provided Co-operative Energy with a fully automated inbound payment solution, which allowed all members to make payments 24/7. As this solution is fully automated, there is no agent interface, which meant that Co-operative Energy was fully de-scoped from PCI DSS as well as providing an easy and simple solution for their members to pay. The BCH solution integrated into Co-operative Energy’s existing CRM and PSP and the system was installed with no downtime.

The Results

“I was very impressed with how quickly the whole system was set up. Changes were made the same day which was fantastic for us and made our business immediately more efficient”. Caroline explains.

The work with Debt collection agencies have become far easier for Co-operative Energy, as they are now able use the automated system for customer visits, which encourages convenient and immediate payment without the barriers and time delays. Collection rates have also improved and are set to continue.

Additional Added Value

It was decided to add further verification to the payment process, ensuring members’ details are valid and match up with pre-authorised customer account data, before payment is taken. In addition, Co-operative Energy staff are now able to call members to take card payments, while staying completely PCI DSS compliant.

The new additional payment solution and verification has greatly enhanced the service Co-operative Energy offer their members, providing a wider and more secure choice of PCI compliant payment methods.

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