The payments division continues to make progress in all areas, but particularly in non-card payments. January 2020 saw the first GBP account clients onboarded, meaning that the Company has expanded its services to include Direct Debit, Faster Payments, SWIFT and BACS payments alongside the existing EURO IBAN services such as SEPA payments. USD facilities are available as an FX service, we anticipate dedicated USD accounts being rolled out in the next quarter. IBAN account openings increased 25% in January and with the introduction of GBP accounts we anticipate no slowdown in demand. Transaction volumes are also steadily increasing.
Technology based improvement in KYC (know your customer) processes means we can now approve most individual applicants for cards or accounts in under 15 minutes, the new online process is as simple as taking a selfie with a smart device, the platform’s in built technology has sophisticated verification and fraud protection capabilities enabling fast applications and approval.
Fulfilment of prepaid card orders continues however the Christmas break has slowed the activation of cards so the 13,000 ordered in November are now expected to be fully activated in the coming eight to twelve weeks. The cards are supplied to a client as a white label service, who had delayed the delivery of cards to their customers for internal reasons; they have now restarted their activities to distribute the cards to end users. The improvements in verification and approval turn-around is a significant step in minimising the time to activate cards. The number of delivered and activated cards remains materially the same as at the announcement of 6 December 2019. The target for 20,000 cards to be delivered and activated has been extended to the end of the financial first quarter (30 April 2020).
Further technology developments enabling connectivity between accounts, cards and e-wallet balances are complete, giving clients improved services plus FX capabilities between GBP other currencies on demand.
Our merchant services remain in a test and evaluation phase relating to the upgraded payment gateway and fraud prevention software released in January. The merchant services team have continued their successful merchant acquisition campaign with the goal of producing a more industry diverse sales pipeline and remain confident of a positive contribution to the group during the first quarter of 2020.
The number of Lottery lines played on a weekly basis continues to grow and is approximately 39% higher in December 2019 than for December 2018. This growth continues to ensure the Lottery Business is on target to make a positive operating contribution to the Group for the second half of the year to 31 January 2020.
Working capital remains constrained, however the Board believes the improving operating performance will alleviate the position gradually. In addition, the Board is actively working on a solution to improve the Group’s position and anticipates providing a further announcement shortly on this matter.
Chief Executive Graeme Paton commented, “We now have a fully functioning suite of GBP and EURO accounts, connected to prepaid cards, proper IBANs in EURO as well as corporate GBP accounts for qualifying businesses. Integrated FX services are coming on stream and USD accounts plus other currencies will shortly – all accessible through one simple interface. Demand for our B2B services is increasing including new wins for GBP accounts for a European based financial services provider and two Payroll management companies in January.”
Full report can be found here