As many as 15 percent of young people are in debt. It turns out that they often have trouble getting out of it. That is why Seev was developed. This app can help young people to pay off their debts as soon as they start to fall behind on their payments. In order to handle payments between creditors and young people easily and safely, Seev has teamed up with Online Payment Platform.
The philosophy behind Seev is simple: you learn by making mistakes, but it shouldn't be the case that you can't get out of it yourself. "Young people only see that they have a problem when it is too late. Conversations with them show how easy it is to build up a large debt in a relatively short time," says Jörgen de Koning, director at Seev. "This has some fundamental causes. For example, the current method of debt collection does not suit their perception of the world and the language used in invoices and payment reminders is simply too complicated."
Seev originated a few years ago as a project from the youth care innovation lab Garage2020 and design agency Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken. They noticed that family issues often start with financial problems. This starts when people are young and help usually only arrives when it's too late and the debt is incalculable. By preventing this from happening and resolving the debt before it goes to a collection agency, many other problems can be prevented.
Late payments by young people are most often built up with health insurers, telecom providers, housing corporations and online retailers. According to De Koning, the perception of arrears is also often wrong here: "People generally think that young people do not want to pay. This is very often not the case. In most cases they have simply lost control and the overview of their finances and do not know how to get a grip on it again."
De Koning: "Together with young people from the Albeda college in Rotterdam, we therefore designed Seev. It's an app that can be used as soon as a payment arrears occurs. The Seev app helps young people to pay their bills in parts when it suits them. The user of the app does have control over the payments and determines when and how much is paid."
Outsourcing payment handling
For the handling of payments, it soon became clear that Seev wanted to outsource this. "The alternative was to keep this in-house. However, this would require a license from the Dutch Central Bank. For this we would have to comply with various requirements for payment service providers. We therefore opted for an external specialist," says De Koning. Before the pilot with the app, the payments were set up with another service provider. However, this did not offer the flexibility that was envisaged for Seev. That's when they decided to contact Online Payment Platform.
"We were looking for a way to set up the payments as easy and user-friendly as possible. The people at Online Payment Platform immediately thought along with us. The starting point was our wishes. Online Payment Platform then advised us on how to integrate their solution into our app in the smartest way. We did not always agree. They are no fans of direct debits for example, because there is always the risk of reversal and the costs are higher. However, we want young people to pay by direct debit because it's automatic and they don't have to worry about it. Together we arrived at a solution that works for both parties."
Solid payment solution
The integration of Online Payment Platform at Seev went without a hitch. "The contact was very accessible, our developers could switch with the technical specialist via Slack and the right scripts and necessary information ensured that we could go live very quickly. We now have a solid payment solution where Online Payment Platform unburdens us and we can be sure that the money the young person pays via Seev goes directly to the creditor."
The first practical experience with Seev was gained at the Albeda college. The payment reminder for school fees came with a QR code with which Seev could be downloaded. Students were automatically offered an installment payment feature. Young people could also choose which monthly installments, with a certain minimum, they wanted to pay on which day of the month. More than 60 percent of app users made a payment arrangement with the school. Many students also transferred the entire amount directly after all, simply because they had forgotten to pay.
The app is continuously being tested and validated. In this way, Seev generates ideas for new features and can continue to improve. The next step is to roll out the app within other schools and thus reach 20,000 students within a short time. "Training institutions are a good place to further scale up the use of Seev," believes De Koning. "We are also going to do a pilot with a telecom provider to bring attention to the app from the creditor's side."
Strong partner for further growth
De Koning is aiming for 150,000 Seev users by the end of 2024 and wants to work with at least twenty parties that collect payments from young people through Seev. "The app is also suitable for a broader target group than the young people we currently focus on. Fortunately, with Online Payment Platform it is no problem to scale up and add new features. With this, we have a strong partner to continue growing with."