Proof that an electric distribution system pays

02 September 2012

Jim Best Business

Once you have the electronic machine at the point of sale, you can sell other things and add services of some value as well as simply taking the money for the customers’ initial purchase or basket. That is the simple but highly effective principal of the Payzone business, which now has its distinctive pink counter top terminals in over 7,500 Irish retail outlets. They include major retail groups such as Dunnes Stores, Musgraves, BWG, Londis, Superquinn and many independent retailers, forecourts and other outlets.

“We pioneered the first ever electronic distribution of prepaid mobile top-up for o2 in Ireland several years ago and now distribute top-ups for all the Irish mobile operators” said Jim Deignan, managing director of Payzone. “We now process over 25 million mobile top-up transactions in Ireland every year”

Utility payments have been in the Payzone portfolio for some years also, notably Electric Ireland, Eircom, UPC and Bord Gais. “In partnership with our utility clients, Payzone has developed a variety of technologies used to facilitate payment collection including barcoded bills, magnetic swipe cards and smart cards,” Deignan said.

More recently Payzone added the facility to pay eFlow toll payments for the M50 on behalf of the RSA, a speedy and convenient way for casual motorway users to pay the tolls with no registration formalities. Payzone also handles the new Dublin LEAP transport card.

“Accepting card payments from the customer was the original and prime purpose of the counter terminals” Deignan said. ”But it was clear to us that it not need to be dedicated to one purpose only. Once connected to the EPOS and back office systems, the connectivity could be used for a wide range of other purposes.

“Accepting payments directly on behalf of third parties was a very successful first added-value service, giving a national retail network to the mobile companies, for example, and adding a small but positive extra sales revenue stream for the retailer.”

A recent extension of this is payment for certain local services, such as Panda, Greyhound and other waste collection operators and county councils. People pay in their local shops but at the Payzone end the system is automatically national so additional outlets need no setting up. Each third party payment facility is just added to the catalogue of available services. The first local service was the payment Dublin Corporation clamping fines to enable unclamping.

Since Payzone actually manages the network it offers its service provider clients a full service including secure card acquisition and payment processing direct to the appropriate client accounts. Its systems in turn provide complete visibility and detailed management reports of each client’s business activity, transactions and patterns such as geography and timing.

Of the 7,500 plus retail users of Payzone terminals, a total of over 2,500 are branded Payzone Agents offering the full portfolio of the company’s payment services and leading the introduction of new services. “This is now an effective national network for the distribution of services by providers,” Deignan said, “and a value added network for retail and other outlets such as credit unions.

“For business with multiple sites it gives a cost-effective and comprehensive PoS solution. For small retailers it offers a powerful, national system on an economical monthly rental basis. No stock, no investment, pay or be paid per transaction - it is a simple and compelling business model. As we expand the range of service, we believe the breadth of the portfolio will offer them a potentially significant additional income stream as well as an incentive to draw in and retain customers.”

The current range of payment options also include gift cards, the 3V and Ukash pre-paid debit cards and vouchers for Web payments, international calling cards. While it is best known for its counter terminals, Payzone has also developed comprehensive and complementary systems for online and mobile payments.

Payzone has extended beyond the Irish market for several years and it already one of the  largest branded payment networks in Europe with over 66,000 retailer points of sale and annual transaction levels pushing around 400 million annually. It has successful operations in Britain, Sweden and Germany as well as Greece and Romania.

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