Today, consumers expect to pay for their products and services using a credit or debit card, and the number of transactions in this area is steadily increasing, fast outpacing both traditional and newer alternative payment methods. Since the introduction of Chip & PIN however accepting card payments has become far more complex. Also, following several high profile data breaches, the levels of data security and compliance demanded is much higher and more expensive. Plus, small and medium sized businesses are now keen to benefit from an integrated point of sale system enabling them to compete effectively with larger businesses.
These new challenges have led to an increasing number of organisations outsourcing their payment processing. Many though still take the easy route, relying on their own banks or a global acquirer to handle their payment needs. Convenient though it may appear, banks don’t always offer the most appropriate or cheapest option. Anderson Zaks helps you negotiate your way through the maze with some useful pointers on what to look out for when choosing a new Payment Service Provider (PSP). Here are the ‘Top 10 Checks’:
The ideal PSP should:
- Support the range of card and transaction types you require and hold all the certifications and accreditations demanded by your chosen acquirer(s). New types of cards are continually being introduced (think of the latest contactless cards). Make sure your PSP can handle these efficiently and has the proof to back it up with the right bank or card scheme certificates already in place.
- Demonstrate a track record of delivering a highly reliable payment processing service. Nothing beats good old-fashioned experience with references to match. A lot of PSPs claim their solutions are always operational but quite a few have suffered service outages! Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to other organisations already using their services and request monthly performance figures.
- Be independent from acquirers, international card schemes and technology vendors. Probably one of the most critical selection criteria, independence from well-known acquirers such as WorldPay, Visa and Mastercard or technology providers such as Verifone and Ingenico will give you more choice and flexibility, both technically and commercially. The benefits of deciding what you want, when, means you are not locked into rigid, fixed-term contracts that aren’t suitable to your everyday operations or are, quite simply, in-flexible.
- Show it understands your market sector and has appropriate alliance partnerships in place. Requirements for your sector could be completely different from others, for example, a supermarket, so make sure your PSP understands your market as well as the size and scope of your business. It helps if the PSP is already working with an application partner with expertise of your market sector, who speaks your language and brings with them the specialist knowledge necessary to provide a perfectly tailored integrated solution.
- Offer a comprehensive range of services, competitive commercial terms and flexible contractual models. The PSP you select should give you the opportunity to pick and choose the length of your contract and amend the terms within it to a reasonable degree. Smaller, independent PSPs often leave more room for negotiation and definitely offer better pricing models than some of the new MPoS kids on the block. Avoid anyone with a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. They should demonstrate they want your business.
- Treat security as a high priority and not just as a tick box exercise. PSPs need to take security very seriously especially with the industry requirement to comply with strict PCI DSS standards, otherwise, they have no credibility and will rapidly go out of business. However, solutions from smaller, independent PSPs can be easier to install and offer a far higher level of security than the multitude of mobile offerings currently emerging.
- Provide Omni-channel transaction processing capability including support for e-Commerce, Smart phones and tablets. Even if you don’t offer e-Commerce or use the latest Smartphone or tablet technology today, make sure you have a clear, upgrade path by choosing a PSP that can support every eventuality to future-proof your business. A long term partnership will deliver real benefits.
- Deliver fast authorisation response times even at extremely high transaction volumes. Nothing is more frustrating, both to the customer and to the person serving the customer, than being held up by a slow PDQ terminal! Make sure your PSP offers integrated PoS payment processing and has the fast-processing power to reduce queues and minimise the impact on customer service.
- Provide highly responsive account management and support services backed up by a willingness to offer client references. Big corporations often get so hung up about processes that they lose the personal touch, expecting customers to fill in forms that fall into a black hole. Your chosen PSP should treat you as an individual, always there at the end of a phone with a personalised service that suits your needs.
- Offer secure client applications for each sales channel that are easy to integrate into the rest of the business.PSPs that listen to their customers and then develop their products in direct response to customer feedback have a head start. Dealing with one company makes life easy with a single solution that integrates seamlessly with your PoS system and provides end-to-end payment authorisation, settlement and value added transaction services. In an ideal world, your PSP should offer an all-in-package that meets your payment needs for both today and tomorrow.
For more information about Anderson Zaks, its RedCard Processing Services and RedCard Applications, please visit: www.andersonzaks.com
UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry said it would delay publication of its review of business rates – a tax paid by companies based on the value of the property they occupy – until the autumn when the economic outlook should be clearer.
Many companies are demanding reductions in their business rates to help them compete with online retailers.
“Due to the ongoing and wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, the government said the review’s final report would be released later in the year when there is more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and the public finances,” the ministry said.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak has granted a temporary business rates exemption to companies in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, costing over 10 billion pounds ($14 billion). Sunak is due to announce his next round of support measures for the economy on March 3.
($1 = 0.7152 pounds)
(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)
Discounter Pepco has all of Europe in its sights
By James Davey
LONDON (Reuters) – Pepco Group, which owns British discount retailer Poundland, has targeted 400 store openings across Europe in its 2020-21 financial year as it expands its PEPCO brand beyond central and eastern Europe, its boss said on Friday.
The group opened a net 327 new stores in its 2019-20 year, taking the total to 3,021 in 15 countries. The PEPCO brand entered western Europe for the first time with openings in Italy and it plans its first foray into Spain in April or May.
Chief Executive Andy Bond said its five stores in Italy have traded “super well” so far.
“That’s given us a lot of confidence that we can now start building PEPCO into western Europe and that expands our market opportunity from roughly 100 million people (in central and eastern Europe) to roughly 500 million people,” he told Reuters.
To further illustrate the brand’s potential he noted that the group has more than 1,000 PEPCO shops in Poland, which has a significantly smaller population and gross domestic product than Italy or Spain.
The company, which also owns the Dealz brand in Europe but does not trade online, has already opened more than 100 of the targeted 400 new stores this financial year.
Pepco Group is part of South African conglomerate Steinhoff, which is still battling the fallout of a 2017 accounting scandal.
Since 2019 Steinhoff and its creditors have been evaluating a range of strategic options for Pepco Group, including a potential public listing, private equity sale or trade sale.
That process was delayed by the pandemic, but Steinhoff said last month that it had resumed.
“The business will be up for sale at the right time. It’s a case of when, rather than if,” said Bond, a former boss of British supermarket chain Asda.
Pepco Group on Friday reported a 31% drop in full-year core earnings, citing temporary coronavirus-related store closures.
Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 229 million euros ($277 million) for the year to Sept. 30, against 331 million euros the previous year.
Sales rose 3% to 3.5 billion euros, reflecting new store openings.
($1 = 0.8279 euros)
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Goodman)
Fashion-focused livery launch reveals new colours for Gasly, Tsunoda in 2021
Scuderia AlphaTauri debuted their colours for the 2021 Formula 1 season as drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda unveiled the team’s new look with the livery for their AT02 racecars. The setting was a fashion-forward launch in the all-new showroom of AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s premium fashion brand.
Salzburg (AUSTRIA) – Formula 1 team Scuderia AlphaTauri served up a stylish preview of the new F1 season with a presentation of its 2021 livery alongside key looks from the upcoming Autumn/Winter 2021 collection of Red Bull’s premium fashion brand, AlphaTauri. The launch – held at AlphaTauri’s new showroom in Salzburg, Austria and presented digitally – marked the first time that drivers Pierre Gasly of France and Yuki Tsunoda of Japan have appeared together as teammates.
After a successful first season racing in AlphaTauri colours, the Italian outfit is looking to challenge the top of the ultra-competitive midfield in 2021, and the two young drivers have been assigned clear-cut roles. Gasly is Team Leader. The 25-year-old, who made his Formula One debut with the team in 2017 under its former name, Scuderia Toro Rosso, has earned two F1 podiums. During the 2020 campaign, Gasly’s maiden win at Monza was a defining moment for him and the team under its new name.
Tsunoda, 20, is the first Japanese driver to race in F1 since 2014, his promotion coming off the back of a fast, four-season trajectory from winning the 2018 F4 Japanese Championship and finishing third in the 2020 FIA F2 Championship to entering the top-level ranks this year. Expectations are high for his rapid style of learning to complement the experience of Gasly.
“The decision to go for Pierre and Yuki in 2021 was taken because Scuderia AlphaTauri’s philosophy is still to give talented young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Program the opportunity to step up to F1 and to educate them – this is why Yuki now gets his chance,” explained Team Principal Franz Tost. “With Pierre on Yuki’s side we have an experienced driver, who can help our Japanese rookie to develop faster, but at the same time we can aim for good results. I think this pair is the best possible scenario to achieve both our targets, and I’m also confident this will be a successful one.”
In 2020, Scuderia AlphaTauri won best livery by a landslide, and the team’s all-new, matte blue and white racecar livery took center stage with the drivers at the fashion event, anticipating the 2021 model that will debut at pre-season testing in Bahrain on 12 March. The test is the precursor to an unprecedented 23-race schedule, and in preparation for the demanding calendar both drivers have spent time at Red Bull’s Athlete Performance Center for intense fitness testing.
“I’m ready to take on the role of team leader. Yuki is a very quick driver, and he will help us move the team forward – we will work together to achieve that,” said Gasly, the team’s all-time top points scorer. “I really believe last year was the team’s best in terms of the way it worked, the development, the performance and the way it managed the race weekends. I’m always hungry for more, and I’m sure we can achieve great things in 2021.”
Tsunoda, who was honored with the Anthoine Hubert Award for best Formula 2 rookie in 2020, added, “I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with Scuderia AlphaTauri ahead of the season, so I’m already developing strong relationships and learning a lot from them – including Pierre, who is an incredible talent. My main goal is to learn quickly and deliver results as soon as possible, and I’m really excited to get started.”
The launch at the AlphaTauri Showroom not only gave Gasly and Tsunoda a preview of the AlphaTauri Autumn/Winter 2021 fashion collection, but the drivers had the chance to select their new off-grid looks ahead of the season start.
Ahmet Mercan, CEO AlphaTauri, summarized: “This is a triple reveal at a unique point of time: a new AlphaTauri Showroom where fashion meets F1, a first look at the AW21 AlphaTauri collection and the unveiling of the new Scuderia AlphaTauri F1 livery and driver pairing.”
Scuderia AlphaTauri fans don’t have long to wait for racing action: The FIA Formula 1 season kicks off at the Bahrain Test on 12-14 March, in preparation for the Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 March.
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