Pilot project found ways to make paying invoices easier for seniors

A six-month pilot project launched by the City of Helsinki Financial Management Services (Talpa) with Finance Finland (FFI) found new ways to make the switch to e-invoicing and direct debiting easier for senior citizens. Participants to the pilot project also found new areas of collaboration as they worked on the project.

The aim of the project was twofold: facilitating seniors’ invoice payment and improving the efficiency of the city’s financial management services. The collaborative pilot project also aimed at encouraging and supporting ageing customers in switching from paper invoices to e-invoicing. Together with Talpa and FFI, participants to the planning and implementation of the pilot project included the Helsinki Elderly Citizens Council, City of Helsinki’s Senior Info, Kamppi service centre, and Kaapeli Media Center.

“In addition to technical solutions for easier payments, we also considered what measures of support could be provided to persons who cannot use digital services. The Kaapeli Media Center and the experienced digital guidance personnel of banks were of much help in this part of the project. One outcome of the project is that FFI has agreed to contribute to the development of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s digital guidance model, which seeks to map out the best practices for digital guidance”, says Kristiina Siikala, head of development at FFI.

Process Administrator Anita Andsten from Talpa says the new operating models found in the project are now being developed and put into practice. One of these is the adoption of direct debit mandates. The mandate is useful when the customer or their trustee has difficulties visiting the bank in person to sign a direct debit agreement. At FFI’s suggestion, Talpa is also launching an operating model which enables the invoicer to send e-invoice receiver proposal messages – pieces of structured data read by the underlying system – directly to the customer’s bank.

“The receiver proposal message makes it easier for the customer to start using e-invoicing because they don’t have to send documents and details manually. The pilot enforced our impression that the receivers of paper invoices are more difficult to reach, and even more difficult to persuade into switching to e-invoicing, so other measures are very much needed. However, we are also planning to continue our campaigning and general promotion of the benefits of e-invoicing and direct debiting”, Andsten says.

Helsinki’s Senior Info is a telephone service that offers advice and support services to the senior population and their relatives in the Helsinki area. Senior Info succeeded in its aim of establishing cooperative networks during the project, and this cooperation will continue in the future. Helsinki Elderly Citizens Council had set its aims at facilitating seniors’ invoice payment and promoting further development in the same direction. Key focus was on making the transition from paper invoicing to electronic payments and thus making payments easier and more fluent in general. Representatives of the Elderly Citizens’ Council emphasised that several different payment options must be available also in the future.

Additional information

Finance Finland (FFI)
Head of Development Kristiina Siikala, tel. +358 20 793 4273
Head of Payments Standardisation and E-invoicing Jarmo Markkanen, tel. +358 20 793 4255

City of Helsinki Financial Management Services (Talpa)
Process Administrator Anita Andsten, tel. +358 9 310 25324
Communications Director Kati Toikka, tel. +358 9 310 25161