C-PAY Case Study: Austar Entertainment

The Company

Servicing the entertainment needs of non-metropolitan areas via their satellite transmissions, Austar Entertainment is one of Australia's premier pay television companies. Head quartered in Sydney, NSW, Austar's main customer operations centre is found in Robina on the Gold Coast, Qld.

The Challenge

With a growing customer base, Austar had a need for efficient processing of subscription payments. A large proportion of these payments came in the form of credit card transactions that were batched and submitted to a third party processor. Unfortunately, this post-sale method of processing payments lead to a high level of error and costly rework. Although a number of payment gateways existed, each of them required Austar to carry out costly integration into their mainframe based Call Centre and Customer Subscriber Management systems.

"The error rate in our existing process was high. we needed a quicker turn around time for batch submissions." - Credit Manager

C-PAY Batch was chosen by Austar Entertainment to facilitate a controlled and direct submission of recurring subscription payments to the bank while allowing immediate update of the Subscriber Management Database. C-PAY Real-Time was also adopted by Austar to easily permit Call Centre systems to process ad-hoc payments in real-time before committing a customer transaction to the database.

"A number of systems were looked at. C-PAY offered the quickest and most cost effective method of solving the problem." - Senior Systems Administrator

How C-PAY Met the Challenge

C-PAY Batch functionality quickly became part of the Austar billing systems. Using the C-PAY Batch Client to prepare the submission of at least 70,000 transactions at a time, C-PAY Server managed the same day submission and settlement of the payments through two (redundant) banking gateways.

The complexity of integrating multiple banking gateways directly into the application layer of the Subscriber Management System would normally have cost Austar many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Austar overcame this problem by utilising C-PAY as its single banking interface and by using the C-PAY Database Gateway to communicate directly with the Oracle database managing the subscriber data.

"No other device we looked at could readily allow us to manage multiple payment gateways." - Senior Systems Administrator

After proving itself in the batch processing area, the functionality of C-PAY Real-Time was put to use in Call Centre, IVR and Web transactions. Once again, high development costs were removed as varied componentry from some of the world's leading Call Centre systems suppliers were simply integrated into the existing C-PAY middleware; rather than having to be configured to manage communications with multiple payment gateways, company databases and between each other.

At an accounting level, C-PAY logs allowed the finance department to standardise credit related reporting across the multiple disparate payment channels connected to the C-PAY server. This simplified bank reconciliation processes and provided a single point of reference for any payment enquiries or troubleshooting.

For the IT department, a layer of independence from the banking systems and gateways was provided. This meant that multiple disparate banking links could be set up and changed without affecting any of the in-house systems. A great dependence on vendor expertise was removed.

The Results

  • Reliable processing and settlement of large batch files
  • Management of multiple payment gateways
  • Acquiring bank independence
  • Removal of high development costs

Summary

With C-PAY middleware managing their banking interface, Austar have been able to develop sophisticated and robust batch and real-time payment processes at a greatly reduced cost than would otherwise have been possible. C-PAY middleware has allowed Austar to blend a disparate range of customer facing, database and banking applications into a truly integrated and centrally managed credit card payment system.