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One to Watch Highly Commended: Severn Trent Water

Published: Jul 2014

Lucy O’Grady, Dawn Warmington and Rosa Legassick of Severn Trent Water collecting the Award on behalf of Stephen Baseby, with Martin Baker and Jamie Hills of Barclays

Photo of Lucy O’Grady, Dawn Warmington and Rosa Legassick of Severn Trent Water collecting the Award on behalf of Stephen Baseby, with Martin Baker and Jamie Hills of Barclays.


Severn Trent Water is using the Pingit smartphone app allowing it to make and receive payments from its customers. The corporate functionality provides customers with an easy and convenient way to pay their bills, as an alternative to paying by cash, cheque or bank transfer simply by using their mobile phone.

Stephen Baseby

Deputy Treasurer

Severn Trent Water

Severn Trent was formed in 1974 as a regional, state-owned water authority based in Birmingham and is responsible for water management and supply, and waste water treatment and disposal, in the catchment areas of two of Britain’s largest rivers – the Severn and the Trent.

in partnership with

The challenge

Severn Trent Water wanted to offer as many customer bill payment options as possible, at the same time showing innovation and forward thinking in its approach, and increase the range of alternatives to the more traditional, and expensive, cash- and cheque-based options.

The company’s specific goals were to:

  • Expand the number of bill payment options available to its customers.

  • Deliver a unique bill payment service that allowed its customers to pay via their smart phones.

  • Deliver a bill payment solution that could also be used to pay bills at Barclays ATMs without a smart phone.

  • Become the first utility in the UK to accept smart phone bill payments.

  • Address the growing customer need to deliver up-to-date bill payment options using current technology.

The solution

Severn Trent Water selected Barclays’ smartphone app, Barclays Pingit for corporates, allowing it to make and receive payments from its customers.

The corporate functionality provides customers with an easy and convenient way to pay their bills, as an alternative to paying by cash, cheque or bank transfer simply by using their mobile phone.

It has two offerings, enabling businesses to register for a unique Corporate ID and/or Quick Response (QR) code, which is linked to a corporate current account held with Barclays. Businesses can then include their Barclays Pingit Corporate ID or QR code on statements and invoices, allowing customers using the free Barclays Pingit app to simply enter the Corporate ID into their phone or scan the QR code to initiate a Faster Payment.

Businesses will have the option to register for a standard Corporate ID or selfselect a Premium Corporate ID which can be defined within certain guidelines.

The QR code offering enables businesses to generate QR codes with specific customers’ unique reference details defined by the business at the time of generation. Therefore when customers initiate a payment using the QR code, it carries all the required reference data to the business.

“Using Barclays Pingit offers customers a more efficient payment alternative by reducing costs associated with manual and paper-based processes. QR codes and availability of reference information will mean auto reconciliation which potentially enables speedier allocation of payment to the customer account and the Faster Payments mechanism is used, making payments effectively near real-time,” explains Stephen Baseby, Deputy Treasurer.

Best practice and innovation

The implementation of QR codes coupled with the availability of Barclays Pingit provides bill payment solutions that answer the following key requirements:

  • A payment solution that recognises the changing customer behaviour regarding payments and a growing demand for immediacy and accessibility.

  • A secure payment mechanism that provides instant receipt of funds together with payment data to ensure straight through allocation.

  • Broad appeal via ATM acceptance so that it is not just smartphone owners that will benefit from the solution.

This ensured that Severn Trent Water was the first UK utility to accept bill payments via smart devices – both phone and tablet. Its customers have given very positive feedback on the ease of use of the channel and the innovation that the solution has brought to the market.

“Since the launch of Barclays Pingit and the inclusion of QR codes on our customers’ water bills, we have received almost 3,000 payments approaching a value of almost £400,000,” concludes Baseby.

Key benefits

  • Reduced cost compared with traditional payment methods.

  • Reduced time taken to process payments.

  • Improved payment security.

Live since August 2013, Severn Trent has seen a growing number of its customers switching to this payment channel from the more traditional and expensive cash- and cheque-based options.

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