Consumer Friend Offers Way To Handle POPI Act Complications
The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPOI Act) is soon coming into effect and will influence how consumers, credit providers and Debt Counsellors exchange information. In part, it will make it difficult to exchange information with ID numbers and Account reference numbers, something which it is vital to do in the debt review process. Many in the industry are trying to figure out how they will be able to do this in a secure way that does not require the constant exchange of passwords and permissions (which will slow down every matter).
‘not being able to easily share specific info on account numbers and ID numbers could make it nearly impossible to arrange payments on the right accounts’
It seems that Consumer Friend, who provide debt review services on behalf of their credit provider clients, already has the way forward figured out.
We spoke to Mr. Ryan Hartslief, who is the COO of Consumer Friend. He says: “Consumer Friend has had POPIA on our compliance radar for some time now and with the Acts’ imminent commencement date around the corner, we are excited to say that DReX was developed to address the Acts’ compliance requirements”.
We asked him how that would work because not being able to easily share specific info on account numbers and ID numbers could make it nearly impossible to arrange payments on the right accounts. Ryan says:”From a POPIA compliance aspect, the DReX DC Portal has provided an exchange or Hub that allows for the secure storage and access of important Debt Review information, it is in the name really Debt Review Exchange (DReX) which provides a platform or exchange for the sharing, processing and storage of key debt review information to successfully facilitate the Debt Review process for all Debt Review stakeholders”.
The DC Portal went live in November 2017 with only 7000 visits in that month, but as of May 2018 they are now seeing the portal being accessed over 16000 times to obtain balances and important workflow documents. As to uptake of the system so far they have 90% of registered Debt Counsellors who now can access the DC Portal.
Consumers Will Also Be Able to Check Info
Debt Counsellors often get calls and requests from their clients to find out how accounts being handled by Consumer Friend on behalf of their clients are doing. While this might also have presented a challenge and can be a lot of extra work for Debt Counsellors Consumer Friend seem to have provided a solution which will save time and provide consumers with peace of mind. Ryan says: “We are also excited for the roll-out of the DReX Consumer Portal whereby the consumer will have access to all their accounts staged on the DReX platform. DReX has also successfully integrated with a certain DC software provider and this has made the transmission of data over email redundant, which means the threat of an attack from the “Man in the middle” has been mitigated as data is now transmitted over a secure channel.
‘the consumer will have access to all their accounts staged on the DReX platform’
But What About The Credit Providers?
We asked them about the other half of the debt review process, namely the credit providers. Consumer Friend represents many credit providers so they are worked into the DReX system already But what about those who are not their clients? Would there be any benefit to those credit providers or for Debt Counsellors dealing with them somehow?
‘This is an initiative that will allow Credit Providers not managed by Consumer Friend to join their club and upload all their Debt Review documents’
Ryan says they are now busy rolling out something they call the Credit Provider Club. This is an initiative that will allow Credit Providers not managed by Consumer Friend to join their club and upload all their Debt Review documents and account balances on both the DC Portal and Consumer Portal. This will then provide a “one stop shop – access point” for both the Debt Counsellor and consumer to obtain information regarding Debt Review without the need to email or call multiple credit providers to obtain updated balances, statements or debt review documents such as (COB’s, proposal responses, Paid-up letters and 86.10’s).
What this means is not only is there a secure way to share data without hundreds or thousands of passwords and half information being shared but also that Debt Counsellors and Credit Providers can save a lot of time and effort. It also means consumers will not have to wait for days while their Debt Counsellors pester their credit providers for accurate figures (don’t always believe what your credit provider statement says if you are under debt review).
This is a game changer and obviously, Consumer Friend hopes to get a massive uptake of this service.