Irwell Valley Housing Association has introduced a branded debit card to reward prompt rent payments and good behaviour by tenants in its 6800 properties around Manchester.
Back in 1998, Irwell Valley had problems with low payment levels by tenants for their rent, with 70 per cent of tenants classified as poor payers, resulting in a substantial administrative and financial burden.
To encourage prompt payment, Irwell Valley became the first housing association to introduce an incentive and rewards scheme with the launch of its Gold Service programme. Under the scheme, tenants who paid their rent on time and abided by the terms of their tenancy agreements received a Gold Service point worth £1 each week, with the equivalent amount paid to Gold Service members in cash-back at the end of the year.
While the cash-back was originally paid in the form of vouchers, in November 2008 Irwell Valley marked ten years of the programme by moving to an Irwell Valley-branded ‘Accor Compliments’ debit card produced and managed by consultants Capital Incentives & Motivation.
Irwell Valley’s tenants’ points are now credited to their Compliments card at the end of November, after which they can spend the equivalent value at retailers participating in the Compliments card scheme. The card can be used in many major high-street stores such as Debenhams, Selfridges, House of Fraser and Argos, as well as for online shopping which represents considerable progress over the original paper vouchers.
Cardholders receive a mini-statement detailing how many points have been accumulated and when they can be spent. Where applicable, the statement also shows how they could receive the full amount if they improve their behaviour over the subsequent 12 months.
The new branded debit cards have also removed the need for Irwell Valley to regularly post thousands of paper vouchers; rewards points are remotely added to the tenants’ cards via electronic funds transfer, saving on postage and limiting the risk of the vouchers being lost or stolen.
Nichola Shepard, assistant policy director, Irwell Valley, said, “The Compliments card, which is currently issued to over 5000 members, offers our Gold Service tenants a wider range of options to spend their cash-back and will help Irwell Valley in its drive to recruit new members.”