The evolving nature of payment acceptance - end-to-end payment solutions

Our Payments Principal Briony Krikorian-Slade talks to Marc Docherty, Head of UK Acquiring at Worldline.

Q1. We are in the middle of the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR)'s Card Acquirer Market Review, which was triggered by concerns over the competitiveness and value that card payment services provide to retailers. How can you remain competitive and bring benefits to your customers?

The payment process comprises three disparate elements that are usually stand-alone. First, there is the ?Point of Sale?, typically nowadays a PED (Pin Entry Device) terminal. Then there is the ?payment gateway? which collects the customer's card information and encrypts it for processing. Finally, there is the ?acquirer? which settles the card transactions on behalf of the merchant into their account and approves the transaction between the merchant and the customer. The acquirer acts as the conduit between the merchant, the card issuer and the payment networks.

Our business model focuses on offering the retailer an ?end to end? payment solution, rather than having to handle each of these elements individually. For example, by offering a single contract Service Level Agreement, which will encompass acceptance and acquiring services. This typically comes with a unique support centre to cover instore and online transactions, and enhanced capabilities to monitor transactions so we can address negative situations with the merchants quickly and efficiently.

Q2. The last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have been notable for the huge growth in ecommerce. As we head into 2022, how has Worldline sought to apply some of those online payment learnings into instore as well?

One area we focus on as a business is unique reporting for our clients. This is accessible through an e-portal, together with reconciliation of all the merchant's transactional data. Unified reports can be prepared both online and instore with the merchant able to receive bespoke reports. This has often been cited as the equivalent cost saving of employing two to three additional personnel.

While disruptions and system failures are extremely infrequent, a rapid fail-safe back-up should be in place. Leading solutions providers will provide the security and support that merchants require and expect, around the clock and in every geography.

Q3. What are your focal points internationally?

For example, in a number of high-end retailers and hotel chains we service, we provide a DCC (domestic currency conversion) functionality where customers travelling from abroad can be charged in their local currency for convenience. A global solution provider can bring project costs down considerably, including offering significant advantageous revenue shares on certain transaction streams.

Other advantages of selecting the correct partner might include staff training on services such as DCC, as a well-trained workforce is far more likely to encourage customers to use such services, increasing the take up rate and enhancing revenue streams.

Q4. Finally, where do you see UK Finance as adding the most value to you as an acceptance provider?

From our perspective, UK Finance adds value via proactive research, thought leadership and policy expertise.  In particular UK Finance facilitates collaboration on a number of important topics, from contactless to security within the sector, allowing discussions between several hundred members who are typically competitors for the collective benefit of the sector as a whole.