Fairway Credit helps golf clubs go paperless

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 25, 2017 16:20

Clubs welcome the digitisation of membership fee collections – Fairway Credit makes golf club managers lives easier with HowDoIPay integration and a new online paperless monthly instalment facility. The Golf Business reports

The collection of membership fees is still a major task for most clubs and a critical one as the cash generated is the lifeblood of the club. Most businesses are doing what they can to streamline payment collection processes and to make the customer journey as simple as possible; that is why Fairway Credit has invested in two major developments in the last few months. These improvements significantly enhance the customer journey for members and greatly reduce the work for clubs.

Fairway Credit teams up with Club Systems and HowDoIPay

Firstly, we integrated the Fairway Credit system with Club Systems and its HowDoIPay platform, this allows clubs to direct their members to an online payment portal where they can decide how they would like to pay for their membership fees. HowDoIPay already offers the option to pay by debit or credit card, and now members can choose to finance these payments in easy to manage monthly instalments rather than in one lump sum via Fairway Credit without leaving the portal – a seamless journey.

Over 100 clubs have already started the process of moving to the new solution

Launched at the Club Systems roadshows in late 2016, clubs on the Club Systems V1 platform have access to the fully integrated solution. All clubs need to do is firstly inform Fairway Credit they intend to use the HowDoIPay system, then simply send their members a link to the portal and wait for the fees to be paid.

Members simply click the link that has been emailed to them, decide which payment option they want and complete the online form including the credit application if they want to apply for finance. Once approved the credit agreement can be signed online.

Another benefit of the integration is auto reconciliation. When the member has been approved to pay via instalments on the portal, a message will be applied within the Club Systems debtor list to note that the payment is on its way, reducing the clubs’ need to chase outstanding subscriptions.

The integration solution has proven very popular. So far over 100 clubs have indicated they will be using the new integrated service for their 2017 renewals and Fairway Credit expect that number to grow significantly.

Clubs don’t need FCA authorisation to utilise Fairway Credit and HowDoIPay

Another critical benefit is that because Club Systems are FCA authorised to offer credit, clubs don’t have to be. Clubs can now make available a credit facility to their members without having to be FCA authorised themselves, taking away the need to submit annual returns to the FCA.

“This is a real bonus benefit of the integration solution,” said Fairway Credit’s sales director Steve Taylor:

“FCA regulation has been a real bone of contention in the golf sector for several years. We have expressed concern for some time that many clubs are simply burying their heads in the sand on this issue and are running significant risks. We are delighted that in recent weeks both the GCMA and NGCAA have issued guidance to clubs which make it very clear that unless clubs follow the 0% finance Consumer Credit Act (CCA) exemption* (on which there are very strict rules), appropriate authorisation is needed to offer an in-house credit facility. Clubs now have clarity on this important issue and with the development of this integrated solution, clubs have an immediate solution”.

What if our club doesn’t use Club Systems and the HowDoIPay portal, is there another option for clubs to provide members with a finance option and not require FCA authorisation?

Yes, a ‘non-promoted’ Fairway Credit option was launched in 2013 for those clubs that did not possess the old-style Consumer Credit License. Effectively this allows clubs to make the credit facility available but not promote it to members. Given the strong desire of many clubs and club managers to avoid FCA regulation, the solution proved hugely popular and today more than 350 clubs operate under this scheme.

Under the ‘non-promoted’ option, clubs are permitted to:

  • Include a Fairway Credit advert on their website directing members to Fairway Credit
  • Put an application form in their renewal packs to members
  • Display application forms in the club-house or pro shop.

The application is then completed and sent directly to Fairway Credit which will process the application with no club intervention.

Application forms available online

The ‘non-promoted’ solution was devised at speed and as a reaction to the then forthcoming changes to FCA authorisation. With the application process originally paper driven and being completed by humans, errors could be made when completing the forms which in turn could lead to delays in the application processing.

In response to clubs’ and members’ demands, the ‘non-promoted’ application form is now available online via www.fairwaycredit.co.uk which means:

  • The adverts on clubs’ websites and in the pro shop / clubhouse now include a web link to the online application form which allows the member to complete and submit online, significantly improving the member journey and reducing errors
  • Clubs will now include a much shorter and lighter promotional flyer in their renewal packs which directs members to the online application. Fairway Credit will then process the application and email the agreement for electronic signature.

Our offline application process remains available for those clubs and members that still wish to use it

Where clubs want to maintain the paper application process, we will still make the process available alongside the online application solution.

Please, not more ‘we listened to our customer’ messaging?

Steve Taylor: “Sorry, I know it’s an overused phrase but in this case, it is actually true. Our research in the golf sector told us:

  • Clubs want to be able to provide a credit facility to their members so they can access an instalment plan but don’t want the hassle of having to get FCA authorised
  • Clubs need to reduce their administration as they are under significant cost pressure
  • Members want to spread the cost of golf membership
  • Maintaining membership numbers is of prime concern to clubs.

Fairway Credit do all we can to help reduce the obstacles in the path of the member to take-up or renew their membership with your club. We have a long tradition of supporting golf clubs and we are determined to remain at the forefront, developing new solutions to help clubs strengthen their own membership proposition whilst making the members’ application process as seamless as possible.”

And what next?

Our offer to the golf sector will continue to evolve. Alternative solutions that help clubs offer and promote a credit facility option for their members without the need to be directly FCA authorised are being worked on. Technological improvements will continue to drive change and we will embrace that change to deliver improved services for both Club and member.

Watch this space!

* Ref: www.fca.org.uk/firms/authorisation/consumer-credit/exemptions/instalment-agreements

Tel: 01372 746073 / Email: leisure@pcl.co.uk


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 25, 2017 16:20
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