Payzone, Ireland’s largest consumer payments network, has announced that it has acquired the EasyPaymentsPlus and MyEasyPay payment platform businesses developed by Irish owned FeePay Ltd. FeePay Ltd. was originally established in 2009 by its founders, Mary Kelly and Paddy Meehan.

In recent times, Payzone has been diversifying further into customised payments solutions as consumers look to conduct more transactions electronically. Both the EasyPaymentsPlus and MyEasyPay online platforms provide Payzone with a complementary offering that can now be deployed across its multiple channels and through its physical retail network comprising over 3,000 branded Payzone retail agents located throughout the country.

EasyPaymentsPlus provides organisations such as schools, clubs and small businesses with a ready-made ‘branded’ online payment facility and data management tools that enable their customers/members to make easy, secure payments. Over €40 million worth of transactions are processed annually, with over 140,000 people registered and making payments through the system. Clients include such organisations as Leinster Rugby, ISME, The National Performing Arts School, in addition to over 500 schools and clubs nationwide.

The MyEasyPay system is designed for people such as tradespeople, field sales teams, private contractors and professional associations who wish to get paid online or by phone. The solution provides a facility to allow users to get paid online and supports this service with reporting tools to track payments and help with bank reconciliation.

Commenting on his company’s latest acquisition, Jim Deignan, CEO at Payzone Ireland said: “We are really looking forward and excited to be bringing the EasyPayments Plus and My EasyPay payment platforms into the Payzone family. These very popular services are an excellent fit for the Payzone brand and will enable us to bring further innovative services to our consumer base around the country that deliver more choice, convenience and the ability to make payments easier for our customers.”

Mary Kelly, Managing Director at FeePay Ltd, will continue in her role and join the management team at Payzone. Commenting on this latest development, she said: “Being part of the Payzone network will provide us with the scale and reach we require to grow the business exponentially. Our customers will also benefit greatly from having more direct access to the wider range of payment locations provided by Payzone.”

Payzone distributes payments services and products on behalf of a broad range of clients which include Government agencies, local authorities, utility companies and mobile network operators. It currently processes over 90 million transactions annually across its portfolio of electronic transactions services.

FeePay Ltd is currently based in Shankill, Co. Dublin and employs nine people.

Payzone, which was acquired in April 2015 by Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI), the Irish private equity fund founded by The Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital Group, employs over 80 people based in its Sandyford head office in Dublin.

Mobile Payments

What are mobile web payments? Simply put these are payments, which are done using a mobile device. As shown in the graphic electronic payments have risen in recent years will continue to rise. A large area of growth in electronic payments will be mobile electronic payments. Mobile payments can be made in many different ways and this plays a part in its growing popularity. However, when the term ‘mobile payments’ is mentioned we tend to think of mobile web payments. This method of payment works in a similar way to online payments made from desktops or laptops users find this method very easy to use.

Source: World Payments Report Accessible:

Another common form of mobile payment in Ireland is done using online wallets. However there are also several payment options, which are not so widespread in Ireland but are popular elsewhere. SMS payments for instance – whereby the customer uses text messages to send a payment request for goods they want to purchase. The merchant (from whom the purchase was made) then releases the goods, which have been paid for. The customer is billed for this on their monthly phone bill. Due to the slow and at times unreliable nature of this method of payment it is not widely used where ICT infrastructure is well developed.

NFC (Near Field Communication) – this method involves using a smartphone with a smartcard and paying by touching a reader. This is done in a very similar way to contactless payments with Visa cards. This method would typically be used for smaller purchases with the main advantage being the speed of the transaction.

QR Code payments – although QR codes have been around for a very long time few people know their purpose. By linking a credit card or debit card to an application users can use their smartphones to scan QR codes and add them to their shopping cart. In South Korea a comprehensive QR payment oriented campaign was launched by TESCO or HOMEPLUS as it is known in South Korea,ee how it works in this video.

Easy Payments Plus uses responsive web design, which means regardless of whether our site is accessed on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone that scrolling and resizing are kept to a minimum. This means the site is easy to navigate and payments can be made quickly.

Another form of mobile payment is performed through linking a physical chip and pin pad to an application on ones smartphone, allowing the seller to input the amount due for payment using the app and then purchaser can put their card into the chip and pin pad, enter their pin and pay instantly.Click here to see a video explaining how this works.

With many sites employing responsive web design now customers can pay just as easily on a smartphone as a laptop with the added convenience of paying on the go, productively using their waiting time. This is the main advantage of mobile payments and as a result of this convenience we can expect mobile payments to continue to rise as predicted in the World Payments Report.

Recurring Payments

Recurring payments – what are they? What are the advantages?

Recurring payments allow the individual to pay for goods or services in instalments instead of one lump sum. They are usually set up so that a large sum of money can be paid in more manageable chunks by the customer. A customer can set up a recurring payment by selecting the item they wish to pay for and entering their card details.

Once this is done, payments will be taken from the customer’s account at regular intervals (weekly, every 2 weeks, monthly,etc) for the given amount of instalments.

The organisation can choose how many instalments to offer and how often the payments are to be made. In the example below the €250.00 sum is broken up into 4 monthly instalments.

Option to choose recurring payments or to pay in total

Does the individual have to enter their details each time a payment is due?

No! Once the individual has signed up for an instalment plan the payments will automatically run on the designated date. With Easy Payments Plus a reminder that a payment is due is automatically sent to the payer 5 days in advance of the payment. This gives the payer the opportunity to check that the card details are correct and sufficient funds are available for the payment.

What if I lose my card/cancel my card?

With an EPP account there is a facility to add a new card so that your recurring payments are then taken from the new card. With EPP the customer can change their card by clicking on ‘My Account’>’Recurring Payments’ and selecting the relevant payment. Once the new card is added payments will run automatically just as before.

To cancel an instalment/recurring plan you can contact the organisation you are paying and cancel the plan.

Can I offer a deposit payment and an instalment plan subsequently?

Yes! This works similarly to the standard recurring payments option but requires an initial deposit to be paid. Again, the organisation can decide how many instalments there are in the plan and how often they run. The frequency of the instalments can vary from weekly up to yearly.

In the example below the deposit is paid immediately and the balance is split into two manageable instalments.

Deposit & Balance option

If you want to find out more about recurring payments let us know – email us

Card Payments in 2016

Rise in mobile payments will continue

As mentioned in Trends for 2016 Black Friday 2015 saw a 70% increase in purchases made by smartphone. Statistics for 2015 will point to the increase in mobile card payments in the US and the EU but a large segment of the market still hasn’t made their first mobile payment. In 2016 mobile payments will again be the driver behind further increases in mobile payments.
Statistics will be provided when they become available from the World Payment Report.

Government Changes

Looking at Ireland it appears the plan of becoming a more cashless society looks to continue.
Government changes have been introduced from 1/1/2016 in order to encourage Irish society to migrate towards being cashless.
The standout measures are:

12c levy on ATM use (reaching a maximum of €2.50 or €5 depending on the card).
Abolition of €5 Stamp Duty on all Debit & ATM Cards
Contactless payment threshold increased to €30 from €15

While we await the figures for 2015 from the CSO an increase in card payments and a decrease in ATM cash withdrawals are predicted as was seen in 2014.

Biometric Security

Biometric scanning may still seem futuristic but the first steps towards this being introduced were taken in 2015. An as yet unnamed global payment company is working with Norwegian biometric specialists Idex to change payment card security. Idex technology allows for a robust fingerprint reader to be incorporated into a smart card. This promises a higher level of security and a more convenient authentication step for cardholders.


Without any legislation in place it is fair to say crytocurrency is still some way off being widely adopted in Ireland. However, Cahal Milmo of the Independent reports that “About 25 start-ups using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies” have been established on the Isle of Man.

Among the businesses accepting Bitcoin, the most famous cryptocurrency, are a cafe, chauffeur and a pub. Perhaps this points to the future where consumers will have a choice of payment currency.

5 Key Trends for 2016

  1. Virtual Reality

    The world’s largest social network, Facebook has made the purchase of Virtual Reality trailblazer Oculus – showing the high regard with which this technology is now held. The launch of its Xbox compatible headset in Q1 2016 is sure to get gamers’ pulses racing. However as with any new technology the price could prove prohibitive initially. Virtual reality will increasingly have practical applications such as professional training. In the same way that simulators are currently used in some fields to hone skills in a high risk/difficultly replicated scenario VR will provide a more immersive experience. The result would be higher competency skills tested or trained in this environment.
    In the area of sports VR headsets could be used to recreate game/live scenarios for sports people – allowing them to practice decision making. Ulster Rugby, among others has already adopted these training methods with a view to increasing mental workload without a highly physical toll. By extension the visualisation of positive results via a VR headset could be employed as a tool for the law of attraction.The VR possibilities for manufacturing, design, education and many more fields are boundless. It is more a question or when rather than if VR will play a major part in our daily lives. Google 360 provides an interesting viewer-driven experience whereby the user can change their view of the video with a simple rotation of the device they are using. Google 360 View

  2. Noise Avoidance

    We will become savvier with our use of Adblockers and other filters to avoid the noise from companies trying to push their products and focus on the content they wish to view. Film, TV and music streaming have revolutionised the way we consume media and reduced the channels by which advertisements can reach us. Original content, low subscription prices and advertisement aversion has greatly contributed to the rapid rise of Netflix and other streaming services. As a result the proliferation of sponsored content will gain momentum. The benefit of this to consumers as a whole will be that these camouflaged ads will hopefully provide some valuable information we otherwise might not be able to access.

  3. Evolution of Social Media

    There are various different generations currently using social media – however the pattern of use varies greatly with the generation. Although growth has slowed on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter their active user bases continue to grow. It is apparent that people will have a multitude of social media applications that they check regularly. Each application has a slightly different function and as a result may particularly suit a generation. Snapchat’s popularity among Generation Z is due to its personal, instant nature. However this may not suit all generations. According to MRBI in a report published this year 92% of those over 35 do not have a Snapchat account.Coupled with the requirement compatibility with their digital lives there is also an element of preference in using a new application which hasn’t lost its lustre with older generations use of the platform. While the big players with remain relevant further fragmentation of the market will be seen in user’s choice of primary platform. ‘This’, a platform which allows users to post once a day, aspires to produce quality content rather than quantity. ‘This’ was conceived as a response to the ordered mayhem of ads, uninteresting content and spamming present on many Facebook users News Feeds.

  4. Card payments

    (see next entry for more detail) The rise in mobile payments will continue. Black Friday 2015 saw a 70% increase in purchases made by smartphone on Black Friday which now accounts for 22% of total purchases. This is a sizable increase and its continued rise may see the revolutionising of the traditional hysteria-laden Black Friday. Banks will continue to encourage people to move their banking online and as familiarity further grows online payments will rise. In comparison with our European neighbours Ireland still has a heavy reliance on cash but we are gradually migrating towards a plastic-oriented payment world.
    Despite this rise a worrying trend in Irish Business of not capitalising on this spend looks to continue.

  1. Instant Messaging vs Emails
    In my own experience instant messaging platforms such as HipChat improves organisational communication efficiency. Direct messaging and group messaging create a virtual office with a virtual white board allowing for conversations to happen simultaneously and information to be shared more easily. The immediacy, informality and ease of use will reduce the reliance/use of the clunkier and time consuming email.

Security in Online Payments

With the rapid increase in the volumes of online payments in recent years security has become a major focus in the industry. Today we’ll look at security measures and the steps that can be taken to mitigate risk when paying online.

As mentioned in the previous post another layer of security has been added to make online payments more secure in the form of 3D Secure. This is in addition to entering your card number and CVV / CSC which is found on the back of your card.

As individual consumers we can look for the green padlock icon and make sure the site we are visiting is secure by seeing if https is present in our browser’s address bar. However the padlock does not absolutely guarantee safety, so it is best to stick to reputable websites.

Fig 7.1 Error Message

The purpose of error messages is to alert us to an unusual condition occurring when we’re using a computer.

One such error message is the following:
‘There is a problem with this website’s security certificate. The security certificate presented by this website was not issued by a trusted certificate authority.’

This means the website’s certificate (which enables your browser to establish a secure connection with the website) could have expired. The certificate helps your browser to decide if the site is actually what it claims to be.

Sometimes however, error messages can be caused by your own computer, such as if the date and time are incorrect or if you have recently enabled new secure settings on a website.

‘Check a secure connection’

This message can appear for a few reasons:
– Connection between website and browser might not be secure
– The site’s certificate is out of date
– The certificate is not from a trusted third party
– An extension on your browser could be causing the problem – check your browser’s ‘help’ tab if this occurs

‘SSL Connection Error’

The reasons outlined above can cause this error message, as well as some others such as
– Trying to access the site from behind a corporate firewall
– The webpage contains items which are secure and non secure

There is no complete guarantee of security. All these security measures and user attention make online payments very secure. For starters, a simple step we can all take to increase security is using passwords that are difficult to guess by containing a combination of capital letters, small letters, numbers and symbols.

Having a high level As a business there are several steps you can take to increase security, such as:
– Making sure your payment system meets PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) requirements.
– Adopting 3D Secure e.g Verified by Visa as a fraud prevention measure.
– Ensuring data isn’t being stored needlessly and that there is a strong information security policy within the company.

Error messages vary depending on the browser you are using but information on error messages is often included in the help menu on your browser.

If you have any questions about online payments please let us know via and we will incorporate it into our next post.

Trends for 2016

++5 key trends to look out for in 2015++

  1. Phablets (phones with a large screen) will become even more popular. The larger screen is as a result of our evolving use of smartphones, we have increased our data usage massively and as a result smartphones have been created with larger screens to facilitate browsing and reading.This shift can be seen clearly in Cisco’s report on mobile data traffic in which it was found “Average smartphone usage grew 45 percent in 2014.” This will contribute to making internet browsing and mobile payments more popular as the larger screens will make usage more comfortable for users. This will impact negatively on tablet sales but people will remain fond of the laptop and desk top as we tend to like more robust devices for work. This shift to phablet can be seen in the design progression of the smartphone market leader Apple. The iPhone 6 plus is the biggest iPhone produced to date and continues the trend set by the iPhone 6 which was bigger than its predecessor the 5s.
  2. Consumers will continue to shop around – this will include substantial online searches for products or services. As Silicon Republic mentioned in December the Second UPC Report on Ireland’s Digital Future Irish people spent €6bn online in 2014 but only €1.1 bn was spent on Irish goods and services. These figures show Irish Business there is much room for improvement and we predict action will be taken to improve and increase their online presence in the face of international competition. This bodes well for the consumer with more choices available on where to shop and how to pay.In the Google VP Ronan Harris is quoted as saying:
    “About one-third of businesses that go online for the first time get new export customers in the first six months through online channels.”
    This certainly makes for interesting reading and shows the opportunities that presently exist for Irish business.
  3. We have to agree with Nilson Group’s report, which predicts the increased use of credit & debit cards as well as growth in electronic payments. With contactless payments becoming more widespread for low value transactions due to its speed and convenience credit and debit card usage will become more prevalent for small purchases. The National Payments Plan which aims at cutting down cash and cheque usage coupled with the the increase in mobile payments will see these methods of payments continuing to grow.
  4. Wearables – the jury is still out on this one. Are there enough practical applications for the average Joe to invest in what are, as a general rule, quite expensive technologies? One thing is for certain – the debate as to the merits and demerits of this genre of technology will rage on. With so many practical applications, particularly in the area of health and fitness it is really a question of when and not if wearables will take off. Sales of wearables will certainly increase but the magnitude of this increase remains to be seen.
  5. Consumer driven change – never have there been so many different avenues for the individual to contact companies, as a result the consumers’ voice has never been so loud. This can be hugely beneficial to both company and individual as it helps companies identify the needs and wants of the consumer and adjust their product or processes where appropriate to align themselves with what consumers want.

Why Take Card Payments Online?

Simply put, accepting payments online is a low cost way of extending your opening hours and branching into new markets.
Consumers are spending more money online each year and this trend looks set to continue. Bearing this in mind there were some surprising statistics in an article written late last year by Gavin McLoughlin and published on

“Last year, 25pc of Irish businesses did not have a website or homepage, according to a survey carried out by Amarach Research in conjunction with UPC.”

“The survey estimated that Irish online spending will rise from €5.9bn this year to €12,5bn in 2020.”

With online spending set to increase in the coming years there is huge scope for businesses to grab some of this ever expanding market. With a staggering 25pc of Irish businesses without a website or homepage it shows there is the potential for much improvement and growth in this area.

++What are the advantages of taking card payments online?++

  • Access to new and larger markets
  • Improved Security: Increased security by reducing the amount of cash/cheques being handled
  • Improve cash flow: by providing an easy means of payment
  • Payment Plans: Offer different payment plans such as recurring payments which breaks down large sums into more manageable instalments for the consumer
  • Alternative to Cheques: Cheques are being phased out as part of the National Payments Plan
  • By accepting payments online you give people the option to pay you from international locations so you can branch into new markets in different geographical areas
  • Convenience: It makes it easier for your customers to pay you as you can accept card payments online 24/7
  • For clubs and schools it extends the hours in which payments can be taken leading to more payments being received on time and better cash flow. It also cuts down on time spend on administration and handling cash
  • In a PWC survey it shows 81% of shoppers in the UK, our nearest neighbours as shopping online at least once a month. While we might be behind the UK in this respect this reinforces the fact that there is a large market of potential customers out there

What is 3D Secure and Why is it Used?

3D Secure is another layer of security for online credit and debit card transactions. It was developed to provide more security for online transactions. The idea is that 3D Secure provides the same level of security online as chip & pin does when you are physically paying for something by card.
Once the user has input their card details the next screen will be a page requiring the user to input their 3D Secure password or a selection of characters from their password.

++What does it mean for me when I’m making a payment?++
When completing online transactions the payer must input both their card details and subsequently their 3D Secure password meaning there is a lower risk of payment card fraud. It is simply one extra screen in the transaction process and can be completed quickly (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2

Find out more about the benefits of 3D secure here

++Can’t remember your password?++
People forgetting or incorrectly inputting their 3D Secure password is a common source of online payment failure.
This means the transaction is not completed.

Fig. 3

Clicking the back arrow button and interrupting the transaction can also be a cause of failure. Other potential reasons for failed payments are if the card is ‘declined’– this can mean that there are not enough funds on the card but not necessarily. Other common reasons for a card being declined include:

Some of the card details have been entered incorrectly
The card’s daily limit has been reached
The card has expired

If you are having trouble setting up your 3D Secure password or if you have any concerns about the information required for setting up 3D Secure then call your bank and they will be able to help you.

What Does It All Mean?

Security in online payments is very important, as is recognizing secure sites from non secure sites. Thankfully there are some signs which help indicate whether or not a site is secure.

The first thing we are told to look for to make sure we are dealing with a secure website is the green padlock (as in the image) – we look for this sign as it tells us that the connection is secure and that the sites identity has been verified by a trusted third party.

We are also told to look for https:// in the address bar. This is highlighted in the screen grab below

To understand what this is first we need to understand a couple of basic terms:
Http is the name of a protocol (computer rule) which governs how messages are formatted and transmitted.

SSL/TLS(Secure Sockets Layer/Transfer Layer Security) – encryption protocols which provide communication security over the internet. It allows for message/data confidentiality.

https (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the layering of http on top of SSL protocol – essentially adding the security capabilities of SSL to HTTP.

But why? Simply put it is to increase security and prevent hacking, primarily man-in-the-middle attacks and wiretapping. HTTPS allows encrypted communication during transmission over the Internet so that an unauthorised party cannot read or tamper with the communication.

When completing transactions online, looking for these basic signs and making sure the site is a reputable one can give us peace of mind.

Man-in-the-middle attacks – these are attacks whereby communications between two systems are intercepted e.g. client & server. The original connection is split into 2, one between the server and the attacker and the second between the client and the attacker – this means the attacker can see the entire conversation and can input new messages. [put simple illustration in to explain]

Wiretapping – this is the monitoring of conversations and can be done passively, whereby conversations are monitored or actively, whereby the conversation is affected or altered by the attacker.

Next up we’ll deal with terms we often hear in discussions on payments such as PCI Compliance…