allpay is a UK-based fintech company. As one of the market leaders of payment services within the public and social housing sector, allpay provides a range of payment channels to more than 50% of UK local authorities and 90% of the UK’s top 200 housing associations. It processes nearly £8.5 billion worth of payments for around 4.5 million customers — and it’s still growing.
allpay offers a comprehensive and unique bill payment collection and consolidation service so that its customers can pay bills, and more, from the comfort of their homes or while out and about using mobile platforms. In addition, allpay has Mastercard accreditation, which enables it to manufacture chip implants, personalize and distribute Mastercard chip, and PIN card products for several customers — all of which require advance monitoring strategies.
In this interview, we spoke with Daniel Sullivan, Senior Application Support Analyst at allpay. Daniel also took part in our webinar ‘Good monitoring in action: a real-life example’, together with ITRS Group, where the transaction monitoring strategy of allpay is covered.
Knowing what your customers are doing in real time is priceless
In order to mitigate revenue-killing downtime, allpay needed to deploy reliable transaction monitors allowing them to mimic what clients and customers do when they make or receive payments. Daniel succinctly points out that fintech firms are especially dialed into their customer bases because customers are typically used to precision when it comes to the delivery or issuing of payments and given the thin window of time during which these transactions are expected to be posted to accounts.
“Any issues with payment platforms creates a massive problem for our call center and operations in general. If not caught early enough, it can create a cascading effect making the customer journey of our websites a really negative one. At the end of the day, that will lead to lost revenue, which no company wants to have.”
Understanding the mechanics of your transactions, the functionality you need to test, and the impact of your monitoring on your systems is a crucial part of planning your transactions. You also may have to involve other teams at your company to set up transaction monitoring.
Hit the road but don’t forget your road maps
One way Uptrends was able to help allpay gain transparency into their monitoring strategy was to help point out that not all transactions are built the same. This calls for a deeper understanding of your transaction pathways and customer solutions such that when problems arise, identifying problems and deploying solutions are rapid and best suited for your customer needs.
Knowing if problems are occurring locally or system-wide is key to mitigating them quickly. To that end, Uptrends offers performance checks from over 220 worldwide locations — one of Uptrends' features that allpay required.
The complexity of their multi-tiered websites and the constant changes to their website’s functionality causes their transaction scripts to require constant monitoring in order to evolve with organizational needs. allpay’s team can quickly make script updates directly in the application or automate updates using Uptrends' API.
With transaction waterfall reports and screenshots, not only do they have detailed information about the state of the page at the time of an error, but they receive a screenshot of it too!
“When something goes wrong, monitors detect it and an alert is sent out to alert personnel by email. Alerts can be customized so that they are sent to the most relevant department in our company. For example, some users have a VPN solution that has a monitor set up in Uptrends so if anything goes wrong it alerts, staff in the infrastructure and networks departments.”
Alerts can be sent to the service management ticketing system for auditing purposes as well. Receiving these alerts allows allpay to investigate and fix these issues before they become apparent to its customers and clients.
Monitor mission-critical pages for time and performance
Transaction Monitoring is a synthetic monitoring approach where Uptrends' checkpoints follow a script to simulate real user journeys.
“One of the reasons we turned to Uptrends is that their monitoring tools can identify if any issues are location-based or not. Another reason why we started using Uptrends is because they provide an independent external view of our entire IT estate, replicating what customers see.”
allpay uses the Transaction Recorder to click through their site using a Chrome browser. They can then submit their recordings to the Uptrends team and receive a fast turnaround on their transaction scripts, or they can test and edit their scripts using the step editor.
“The transaction monitors allow us to mimic what our clients and customers do to make or take a payment. Rather than a single page monitor, it allows us to monitor the customer journey with alerting set up, so it notifies us on the exact stage of the process that isn’t working as expected — instead of a single page monitor, which obviously only monitors a single page step.”
Fiscal targets reached when payments processing runs smoothly
Uptrends’ monitoring has been instrumental in reducing profit-eating downtime, allowing allpay to adhere to any service-level agreements (SLA’s) that they have with their clients, operational-level agreements (OLA’s) set within internal departments, and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) they set for themselves and that they are reached each month.
“Around March or April last year, one of our payment portals went down overnight. But because we had our monitor set up, it alerted our out-of-hours infrastructure support team. They were able to investigate the issue based on the error identified by monitor. They fixed the issue and were able to get everything working again before the portal was really used during office hours. That saved us a lot of effort when we came back into work the next day. “
To be viewed as a reliable payment service, you can’t afford to have any major outages or any faulty transaction systems, especially when users are depending on the service to be working all of the time.
Uptrends’ Synthetic Monitoring, and specifically, Web Application Monitoring allows vendors in the fintech industry, like allpay, to reduce the amount of downtime their websites experience, which has a direct correlation to their mission of providing a positive user experience for clients and customers alike.
“Being able to collate all of the website monitoring into one tool, which Uptrends does for us, reduces the amount of time we have to spend locating different alerts and it allows us to be very productive and proactive because it’s saving us lots of time managing some of the portals that we monitor.”
Monitor transactions and catch issues before your users do
With Uptrends' Transaction Monitoring, you can monitor your customer journey and receive alerts when transaction steps aren’t working as expected. Try it free for 30-days. There is no commitment and no credit card required.Try Uptrends today!