Worldpay is drawing inspiration from the mobile phone industry by launching a pay-as-you-go service for smaller businesses taking card payments, as part of the payment group’s plans to expand in the UK.
The service allows a company to pay a transaction fee each time it takes a customer’s card payment through Worldpay, and is aimed at small businesses and start-ups which might not take payments all year round.
Businesses have until now typically paid varying monthly fees or large annual charges for merchant payment services across the industry.
The UK’s largest payments processor is also unveiling a “fixed monthly” option for more established companies seeking to bundle transaction costs and terminal hire fees together.
The latest development is designed to simplify charges by using tariffs similar to those employed in the mobile phone industry. It is aimed at providing smaller businesses with greater flexibility when accepting payments at the till and online.
The launch is part of a broader plan by Worldpay, which dominates 40 per cent of payments processing in the UK, to diversify its business, broaden relations with business customers and boost growth.
Dave Hobday, UK managing director of Worldpay, told the Financial Times that the move to simplify fee structures is a key part of its growth plans, as more people turn to digital payments.
He said Worldpay’s new service aims to “open up the possibilities for small businesses to take card payments, regardless of the structure, size or maturity of their business”.
Research by Worldpay found that current pricing plans did not suit all businesses — such as seasonal companies that only take payments during certain periods of the year. It showed demand for greater simplicity around the costs of taking card payments.
“By listening to SMEs we understand that payments can be complex,” Mr Hobday said. “We’ve simplified this by replicating the language of the mobile telephony world to present customers with options that they’re already familiar with.”
Worldpay entered the small business financing market at the end of last year by offering cash advances to thousands of its customers. The payments group offers advances based on a business’s future credit and debit sales — with no finite time period for repayments.
Mr Hobday said at the time that the move broadened its customer relations and helped to buoy businesses in need of funding to grow.
The payments processor broke into the FTSE 100 only weeks after listing on the London Stock Exchange at the end of last year. The company reported a pre-tax profit of £19.1m in 2015, reversing the £47m loss in the previous year, although undershot high expectations among investors.
Since being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland in 2010, Worldpay has worked to build its own technology systems, which has cost about £450m to date. The group said in its annual report earlier this month that it has finished building the platform and will be able to move customers over in the summer, cutting ties with RBS.
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