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Quick Hits: QR Codes, Doxo, PCI DSS 3.0

Posted October 22, 2013 by John Schott

The following are a few questions that I answered for a recent webinar.

Question: Does printing QR codes on paper bills actually help drive customers to billing websites? Is there any hard data on QR code effectiveness?

Response: Good question. Quite simply, unless you have been aggressive in your mobile web solutions, having a QR code on the bill isn’t going to do much good. Theoretically, a customer will use their mobile device to scan the code on the paper bill, which will then take them to your online bill-pay solution. Of course, your mobile bill-pay solution would need to be well put together and “useful” or you risk frustrating customers.

This morning, I checked in with one of our larger bill printing/mailing partners to ask them what type of results they have seen from QR codes and learned that only a few of their hundreds of utility customers are even using QR codes, and they don’t have any metrics for effectiveness. That being said, as your utility’s mobile solutions improve, a QR code is extremely easy and inexpensive to implement and might be worth considering at that time. In fact, it could act as a nice marketing tool to attract folks to scan the code, enter your mobile site, and begin to consider paperless. Just some thoughts.

Question: What about digital mailboxes like Doxo.com? Should we as a municipality consider partnering with them to provide customers with another payment option, and are websites like that really here to stay?

Response: Hard to say. There are a lot of folks vying for that space, and it’s hard to know which one will stick long term. I personally do not know anyone that is using Doxo. My suggestion would be to wait and see if that becomes a widely accepted billing and payment channel before latching onto that service in particular. I know many of the large banks are building relationships with billers as well.

One thing to consider is that your billing process is one of the best ways you have to communicate with your citizens/customers. By providing a valued electronic bill-pay solution combined with proactive communications by phone, text, and email, your customers will value their relationship with you and you will develop a pretty accurate customer contact database.

Question: What impact does PCI DSS 3.0 have on billers? What is the difference between 3.0 and today?

Response: The impact is not yet known. The standard will be officially published in November and businesses will have until Dec 2014 to comply. We are awaiting final release of 3.0 specifications for our analysis. These are very complex standards usually with a high degree of analysis required to understand exactly how these standards apply to a specific situation or in our case product offering. That being said, the new rules appear to be focused on tightening the rules to remove gaps and clarify requirements to provide an overall awareness of the rules and where threats exist and the need for shared responsibility across the full network of third-party providers. Overall, PCI is still very new and these rules have created many questions for merchants about applicability, compliance, and self-assessments.


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