PayPoint’s retail director Andrew Goddard spoke to betterRetailing about the decision behind the company’s commission cuts,  the NFRN’s lawsuit threat and how PayPoint

expect independent retailers to cope.
Why have you cut retailers commission?

It’s not something we wanted to do by any means. It was purely a consequence of the competitive nature of client negotiations. There are constant negotiations with utility companies because we aren’t the only providers. It means it’s hugely competitive and the companies want to pay the minimum amount for our service. The changes are a direct result of reductions that we have been forced to accept.

Do you think the NFRN has a legal case against PayPoint?

No, because we regularly check our activities and contracts. We’re concerned that they feel the need to do this, but we’re confident in our position when it comes to a competition review.

We have had contact with Paul Baxter, NFRN chief executive, we’ve offered to meet but not heard back. Since the threat of legal action, I want to meet Paul. I’ve got a very good relationship with him and have known him for a number of years.

How do you feel about the possibility of retailers boycotting the company, or turning off their machines?

I’m hugely concerned about it. I don’t want any of our retailers contemplating or carrying out any sort of boycott.

PayPoint PayPoint’s retail director Andrew Goddard on the latest commission cuts

It’s hugely counterproductive. It’s not helpful for the relationship with our retailers and it’s not helpful for the retailers’ relationship with the customer. I have to say it’s a small number of retailers who are unhappy with the decision we’ve taken. There are considerably more retailers who are very pro-PayPoint than those who have a problem with it.

How do you expect already struggling retailers to cope?

We’re working with retailers to minimise their banking costs. We have a very preferential rate negotiated with Barclays, which is available to all PayPoint retailers to help minimise the cost.

Most importantly, retailers should use our broadband self-fill ATM solution. The cash that comes into the store is put straight into the ATM, and therefore cuts out banking charges. The retailer earns commission on the money coming in the store and commission on the ATM transaction. The customer is invariably spending the cash that they have withdrawn in the store and the retailer doesn’t need to bank it.

How are you planning on gaining back retailer trust?

We need to talk to retailers and get in front of them face to face, because it’s key  to respond to allegations and be on the front foot to questions. I have a strong retail team in the market place who can meet retailers face to face.  We will continue to have dialogue with the NFRN and a presence in their regional meetings.

The latest retailer cuts will come into effect May 18.