Customer focus
group highlights

Our interactive community meetings provide a great opportunity for closer collaboration between us
and you, our customers. They provide the forum to engage with your peers, stay abreast of industry 
news and help shape the paygate solutions that will most benefit your business, now and into the future.

Following our successful focus group meetings in September, January and May , we wanted to bring

you some of the highlights that you may find interesting: 

Our poll showed that 50% of our community respondents run half their applications in the cloud vs on-premise and those that haven’t yet made the move, were eager to discuss the benefits of a cloud solution. Our Head of Development, Gary Vry, laid out the key benefits: 


  • Enhanced security – With multiple levels of access control.
  • Automatic updates Implemented remotely to ensure you are always compliant.
  • Reliability – A resilient environment for paygate cloud with 99.999% uptime.
  • Access anywhere, anytime – Securely access and manage your payment procedures anywhere, anytime.


The cloud also provides the ability to access highly available, ultra-secure, hardware-based Hardware Security Modules. Switching from smartcards to HSM enables secure signing of your payments, from any location, eliminates the challenges of smartcards and opens the door to automation for maximum efficiency.

Direct Debits provide clear cost, resource, forecasting and error reduction advantages and have become the most effective way to collect payments.


Our Direct Debit Management Solution (DDMS) is a powerful AUDDIS compliant system that enables you to stay compliant as well as manage your Direct Debits in one place, streamline cash flow, ensuring greater visibility of financial information and operational efficiency.


We took a look at the exciting new features coming in paygate v3 direct debit collections:


  • API : A fully featured, modern API. Build paygate’s Direct Debit into your own products and services.
  • Online sign up : Quickly integrate DD sign-up into your own website.
  • Payer portal : Engage with your payers and help avoid mis-collections and indemnity claims.
  • Indemnity claims : New functionality for streamlining indemnity claim handling.
  • SMS messaging : Alert your customers of upcoming payments with Direct Debit SMS messaging to increase revenue and reduce failed payments.
  • Validation – Built-in validation for sort code account numbers and address look-up.


For more information about our DDMS, schedule a call with one of our product experts.

Launched in 2009, Direct Corporate Access (DCA) allows corporates to make payments 24’7 that will clear to a beneficiary account within two hours (usually much faster).


DCA offers a cheaper alternative to the more expensive one-day service CHAPS provides for high value payments, a faster alternative to the three-day Bacs bulk processing cycle. Importantly, corporates know exactly when the payment is made.


Although banks allow corporate customers to receive Faster Payments, only Barclays Corporate currently offers DCA. Bureaux can submit to DCA if they are sponsored by a DCA bank who also sponsor their SUN. paygate is such a bureau.

Training is provided as standard as part of a new setup, but we also offer user familiarity, admin functions and module specific training.


Our team of product and industry experts can provide bespoke tailored training for the precise needs of your team; from Bacs and payment process training to paygate functional competency and knowledge gaps in areas such as policies and procedures. Some direct advantages of training include increased efficiency, reduced mistakes and ensured compliance.


Relevant and consistent training provides employees with the expertise they need to fulfil their role and make a positive impact on your business. Get in touch if you are interested in any training sessions.

Making paygate v3 accessible to users of differing abilities is a goal for the paygate product team. But we’re not there yet. We are pleased to confirm that we now have an ‘Accessibility Champion’ on the development team. Accessibility will inform how we design paygate from now and continuous testing and the ‘Web Content Accessibility Guidelines’ WCAG 2.1 will help us on our journey. Expect gradual improvements over time, starting 2023.

Understandably there was a lot of interest on this issue-of-the-moment. 


As you’re no doubt aware, IE is being retired by Microsoft on 15 June 2022.  It was great to hear that many customers had already downloaded the plugin we’ve developed to enable you to use alternative Chrome, Edge and Firefox browsers. 


The plugin allows you to use these additional browsers to sign submissions, download Bacs reports, and use a USB security token.  It also allows you to use the Restricted File Browser feature that lets you control who has visibility and access to payment file folders – a great added layer of security.

The hosted version of paygate will detect when you are trying to use a feature that requires the plugin. For example, when signing a submission with a smartcard. A pop-up appears alerting you to install the plug-in. Just click on the link to download but remember it requires a user with admin permissions to install it. Visit our webpage for more information and instructions on how to download and install the plugin.


A plugin for paygate on-premise is now available too but you may require a system update to be able to install it.  If you’re using an on-premise solution, contact your Account Manager to discuss and schedule a software update. You will be able to get the plugin installed at the same time. Installing the plugin does not remove the requirement to use Gemalto software.

What’s the difference between an API and a workflow?  Good question but as one participant put it: “When I hear API, I tune out and find the nearest techie bod.”  You’re not alone!


Luckily Gary Vry, Head of Development, helpfully provided the answer.


The API and workflows serve different requirements and both technologies are available in the paygate solution. There is some crossover between what each can do but broadly speaking an API is for integration with other business systems, while workflows are for automating payment processes.


Workflows are easier to set up whereas APIs definitely fall into the Developer/programming domain. That may explain why the API attracts less interest. The other reason put forward by some participants was that often legacy systems are just not up to the task of working with APIs.


In contrast, the many positive comments about workflows – how easily they’re set up, tweaked on the fly and their time-saving benefits – shows that workflows are not weighed down by the same obstacles that make APIs less appealing.


The dev team are exploring adding Bureau and Collections APIs to paygate v3 next year. Tell us what you think, or if you have any questions about APIs or workflows, contact us.

As well as the possible introduction of Bureau and Collections APIs, the development roadmap for paygate v3 responds to customer feedback around workflows. A new browser-based Designer tool, new scheduler trigger, improved engine and diagnostics, and better documentation will all make it easier for you to set up your own workflows.

Chris Hester from our Payment Consultancy team discussed how the newest v3 functionality enhances the payment process from multi-factor authentication (MFA) security at login, using APIs for data protection and customising dashboards to put Bacs reports at your fingertips. The topic that got the most interest was our new anti-fraud module that gives you the ability to black-list known fraudulent bank accounts.  

We heard interesting views from the audience around payment fraud and how our new fraud module – that introduces account white and black listing – could help mitigate it.  


When asked about fraud, 10% of poll respondents were aware of Bacs payment related fraud in their organisation in the past two years.


A good use case example for white and black listing accounts is your payroll submission.  Setting up a white list of all your employee accounts and a black list of supplier accounts in your payroll payment group ensures that supplier payments can’t be made as part of your payroll run, either fraudulently or erroneously.


The security theme continued with discussion around smart cards and the alternative HSM or HSM-aaS method of signing submissions, as well as the role of MFA to boost login security.

We explored the benefits of a secure Bacs payment API to integrate paygate with other business applications and how it could improve security and streamline operations.


We wanted to explore the popularity and demand for single sign-on (SSO) to help shape future development of this functionality at paygate. We’re are currently exploring the feasibility of introducing third party authentication functionality for signing into paygate v3.


SSO allows users to sign into multiple applications using the same credentials via authentication and secure federation. We already have SSO for all paygate solutions, allowing users to login once to access all their paygate services such as Validate, DDMS and paygate online.


Participants told us that some of the main drivers for using SSO are compliance with strong business security policies and user experience.


SSO provides a robust and faster mechanism for maintaining security and managing user access to critical business systems like payment platforms. Customers benefit from a quicker single process of disabling user access across multiple systems when users leaves the business – a real game changer for businesses with higher staff turnover.


Our poll showed that around 40% of respondents are already using SSO technology in their business, with Okta and Azure being the most popular.

We wanted to get feedback from the audience on how often they were sending international payments and whether this was functionality that we should focus development work on.


The poll results told us that 45% of respondents are not sending any international payments, and those that do are mainly sending SEPA and Swift payments.

As well as acting as an MFA authenticator, we sought customers’ feedback on using a paygate mobile app to review submission contents, action approvals and rejections, and digitally sign and submit submissions.

Our poll showed that majority of respondents were interested in SMS messaging.


With 90%+ read rates, SMS messaging is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay in touch with your prospects and customers.


The ability to send SMS messages means you can send alerts to your customers as part of your direct debit collections process. For example, you can send an SMS message informing the customer you will collect the Direct Debit in 3 days time so they can ensure the appropriate funds are available. This improves the success rate of your Direct Debit collections.

Top benefits of using SMS messaging also include enhanced engagement with your customers, better conversion rates and improved efficiencies.


More information on this new product will follow in due course. Watch this space!

Validation is a step in the Bacs payment process that check’s the validity of bank accounts entered into paygate either manually or via an API. 


Our poll showed that 60% of respondents are collecting Direct Debit payments where modulus checking of account details is mandatory.  This is fulfilled with our Validate product.


We’re pleased to announce we are working on the release of Validate-Plus which is a more comprehensive verification version of our Validate product. As well as checking that a bank account is live and can make Direct Debit payments, Validate-Plus goes further and verifies that the account holder’s name, address and date of birth all match with live banking data.


Look out for more information about Validate-Plus over the coming weeks or register your interest now to find out more.

We asked the audience whether they’d like us to run some face-to-face meetings.  Most said they thought the online sessions worked well, were most convenient for them and would prefer continuing with this format.  Do you agree?  Let us know.

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