Payments Division

The payments division is pleased to report trading through August with non-card related GBP and EURO activity holding steady through the quiet month of August.  We have seen a 25% increase in GBP accounts and 10% increase in Euro accounts.  Inbound deposit receipts were similar to July but with fewer outbound payments for GBP account holders. Still growing from a relatively low base the Company will continue to monitor the data closely and develop a more meaningful data set as patterns in growth emerge over the coming months.

In card payment services, Prepaid Card Products continue to grow slowly with a 2% increase in active customers, however daily spending levels were significantly down at approximately 50% of the daily spending level in July, largely reflected by a significant decrease in the use of cards for cash withdrawals.

The merchant services team has agreed to deploy a new gateway which gives access to 25 acquiring banks, all major ecommerce checkout/shopping carts, all major alternative payment methods including PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, etc.. The new system is also integrated into a range of EPOS systems meaning that we can service any type of merchant in virtually any market. The impact of COVID-19 continues to disrupt visits to potential merchants that expect client visits and with the recent return of certain restrictions in various parts of the country, this disruption is likely to continue at some level.

October will see the company deploy a full suite of FX and account options including enhancements to existing GBP and EUR services and adding USD named accounts as standard.  Using the same technology that powers a number of household names in alternative banking we will be able to collect, convert, pay and manage our clients’ money from named multicurrency accounts. Clients will be able to send and receive funds in 37 currencies to 180 countries with local delivery in 17 currencies.

Lottery Business

Prize Provision Services Ltd (“PPS”) has seen stability in the number of entries into the lotteries it administers during the past couple of months despite the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and is hopeful of an overall increase in entries during the second half of the year. 

The charity sector has begun to return to normal with staff being brought off furlough and beginning to evaluate fundraising methods to address the shortfalls in fundraising during the lockdown period. 

The 7 September 2020 draw saw a lucky lottery player scoop the £25,000 jackpot and the win offers PPS a timely opportunity to extol the virtues of lotteries to both potential players and societies alike. As the jackpot is insured, the pay-out does not affect the revenue or profit of PPS nor any group entity.

Claims Management

The Group has established a new claims management business, St. Francis House Limited. Closely related to payments, claims management is -regulated activity which involves the acquisition and management of claims for damages usually associated with road traffic accidents but applicable across financial services, housing, criminal injury and employment matters. It is a process led activity in a highly regulated environment. Led by an experienced lawyer the Company has recruited a small and experienced team based in Liverpool.

Technology driven, the business is scalable and gives a predictable and measurable return on investment, with each case returning revenue within twelve to sixteen weeks.  The Company has a small caseload in place and has plans to acquire cases over the coming weeks in order to reach an average work in progress value of £300,000 to £500,000 in the first year.  As the business becomes more established the Board will consider the key performance indicators which will enable shareholders to monitor and track progress in this new division.

Group

Astro Kings, the joint venture 5-a-side football centre located in Nottingham, remains fully open with pitch occupancy levels remaining at the levels which would be expected for the time of year. While a second wave of restrictions would affect the venue, it is not expected that this would have a material impact on the Group.

Graeme Paton, Chief Executive, commented, “We have been extremely busy delivering a number of significant upgrades to our payment business’ capabilities – now with full FX functionality expected to come on stream in October we are able to make domestic and international payments in 37 currencies to over 180 countries giving our clients the ability to receive, convert and send money quickly and cheaply virtually anywhere – further the improved ability for clients to collect payment by all major card types and almost 150 alternative payment methods means we are well positioned to help businesses of all sizes.  The establishment of our new claims management business is expected provide the Group with an attractive third division of business activity.”

Full report can be found here