PayPoint has pledged to take a more “proactive” role in helping stores process card transactions more profitably, following Covid-19’s acceleration of the move away from cash.

“There’s a good question to ask around the acquirers and the fee structure, as cards become a more prominent payment channel for our retailers. Let’s hope they look to get a better deal,” he explained.

Cash no longer king as debit cards become most popular way to pay

Challenged on whether PayPoint’s clients were frustrated at stores refusing card payments on PayPoint transactions due to high card payment fees, Wiles responded: “We’re going to have to talk more proactively about that.”

He continued: “As card payment becomes more important, we’ve got to do our bit to make sure our retailers are getting the right service costs.”

The promise came as PayPoint said it was working more collaboratively with its retailers.

Asked about retailers breaching exclusivity clauses in its contracts by adding rival services, Wiles responded: “Coercing retailers is normally a really bad way to run a business and that’s not what we’re seeking to do.

“I hope what you’re seeing from us is a much softer-edged business that’s working hard to be a partner with retailers.”

PayPoint unveils new Covid-19 initiatives

This included 13,500 care calls to retailers under lockdown, supporting the NFRN’s hardship fund, “putting pressure on Amazon” to deliver greater parcel volumes and free three-month upgrades on its PayPoint One terminals, giving many stores their first EPoS systems.

Wiles said more than 180 stores took the free upgrade in the first two weeks of the trial, with stock management challenges posed by the pandemic driving stores to reconsider EPoS.

“What we’ve been through has helped a lot of those who haven’t been adopters recognise what [EPoS] could have done over the past four months, and what it can do in the future,” he added.

Despite “a perfect storm” of lockdown challenges, Wiles said PayPoint’s parcel services had just “tipped over” back into year-on-year growth following a 50% initial drop, 820 of the 1,000 partnered stores that closed had reopened and it had its best week of ATM sales in two years last week following an earlier drop in its total ATM estate.

PayPoint partners with Deliveroo

The company also reported its over-the-counter cash withdrawal plans with Link had progressed with the latter’s shareholders approving a pilot scheme for October with a UK-wide rollout decision to follow.

Wiles said PayPoint was also in “live discussions” with Deliveroo about future collaboration following an initial trial, with the CEO hoping for “full integration into PayPoint One”.

Your questions answered

Ferhan Ashiq: When will they increase retailer commissions? 

Nick Wiles: “We are committed to paying competitive commissions, along with broader value through the retail products and services we provide, including the footfall these services attract. Within our traditional bill payments business, we continue to achieve important contract wins and renewals with partners such as EDF, Shell, SSE, Utilita and Bulb – as well as evolving other product areas including parcels, card payment services and EPoS which enable further benefits to be achieved. 

Natalie Lightfoot: Why did they say they would support us yet wouldn’t offer to absorb card fees thru their machine like they do with tv licence for a month-6 weeks during major COVID. We put ourselves at risk accepting cash but forced to as accepting card and paying the merchant charges would mean we run at a loss

Nick Wiles: “PayPoint is retained by its clients to provide a cash-over-the-counter payment service, and we appreciate the huge efforts of our retail partners during Covid-19 to continue to provide services. Access to and use of cash remains incredibly important to many in the UK and the World Health Organization clarified any confusion that washing your hands after handling money, especially when eating food, was advised because it was good hygiene practise rather than due to a risk of Covid-19 transmission.”

Samantha Coldbeck: What is the future for PayPoint as smart meters increase and more people pay online? Other than EPoS and ATM’s, are there any other tech options in the pipeline that retailers can benefit from to drive footfall to their stores?

Nick Wiles: “Whilst smart meters indeed offer more payment choice for customers, we continue to see strong demand for cash payments and the budgeting control it offers.  However, we continue to work hard to bring on new cash payment clients, including Amazon, Monzo, and RingGo for parking. Similarly, Collect+ offers an increased footfall opportunity to retailers through parcel click and collect, and is a growing opportunity as more carriers and retailers join the network, including DHL, FedEx and Yodel, Amazon and eBay. This autumn, we will also be trialling an innovate new in-store service with LINK (the UK cash machine network), which we will provide more information about soon.”

Martin Lightfoot: We don’t use them as “tills” just top ups and bills, but now need to provide own till rolls since PayPoint 1 machine swapped in. So take cost of rolls off commissions might be losing money 

Nick Wiles: “We work hard to provide a competitive offering to our retail partners, and understand that the value equation has to be fair and work for all parties, which is why we focus heavily on innovation to bring new value for retailers to access depending on the specific requirements of their business.” 

Martin Lightfoot: When calling for a tech issue need to wait on hold through all menus on automated system… need quicker option to get straight to tech support

Nick Wiles: “Based on feedback from our retailer partners, we have streamlined our telephony automation to a single layer of options, which allows us to route calls to the right team first time, and has delivered significant improvement in speed to answer.”

Hardik Patel: When they will do the trial of 3 months for the new retailers who wanted to try their machine to check whether is it good option for their business or not without signing 2 or 5 year contract?

Nick Wiles: “Our current priority is focussing on our new promotion that enables existing PayPoint One customers to try out an upgraded EPoS package for three months at no additional cost. The offer includes full set-up, training and ongoing customer support, currently open until the end of August. However, this is an area that is under constant review and we are always interested in how we can best demonstrate the benefits of PayPoint products.”

Chris Cobb: Why do we have to give 3 years notice to terminate the contract

Nick Wiles “There is in fact a two-year notice period, rather than three. Following discussions with retail partners ahead of launching PayPoint One, we moved to a shorter two-year rolling contract term that extends to a maximum of five years. This means retailers can choose to leave at any time on two years’ notice, or at the end of the five-year term. This applies to anyone who becomes a PayPoint retailer and reflects our ongoing investment in both technology and training across the network.” 

Jas Chattha: When transactions are measured against staff resource time, do PayPoint services generate the equivalent of the national minimum wage?

Nick Wiles: “I would say that it’s not just about getting commission with PayPoint, it’s about the overall value that our retail products and services can add to a store. I know my team would be delighted to speak to anyone interested in hearing about the range of products and services we can offer to drive higher revenue and volume of footfall to their stores.”

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