TNS provides GSM payments initiative for SilverCab


Transaction Network Services (TNS) has completed its first live application which successfully interfaces mobile GSM technology with its own network authorization technology.

The ‘SilverCab payment terminal’ has been developed specifically to provide credit card solutions to the London black cab market.

TNS has supplied a dial-up credit/debit authorization platform on behalf of SilverCab Services, which supports the introduction of credit card terminals to taxis throughout London.

‘This is an exciting and innovative application of wireless technology and potentially paves the way for a whole host of mobile payments to be enabled,’ says Alan Stephenson-Brown, VP sales at TNS (UK).

‘Mobile business operators ranging from vets, exhibitors and carpet fitters to couriers and emergency call-out plumbers could all benefit from a solution such as this.’

The dial-up platform can provide on-line authorization of credit cards identical to that carried out in most retail outlets, but routed via GSM technology to the acquirers, Barclaycard Merchant Services and American Express.

Following a pilot in 85 black cabs, a large-scale roll out programme is anticipated to follow in the final quarter with a target of 5,000 cabs within the first 12 months of operation.

Subscribing cab drivers receive the terminal free of charge with no line rental, call charges or bank processing charges. The fare amount and tip is also received by the driver in full. The service is funded by an 11.5% processing fee paid by the passenger.

The payment terminal is chip and PIN enabled and comes ready to use. Once card payments are being accepted via the terminal, all fares are automatically paid into any nominated bank account on a weekly basis. Fares are typically authorized on-line in less than 15 seconds.

‘As mobile applications permeate into the existing markets, both physical and virtual, so new opportunities for payments and transactions will emerge,’ says Kevin Coles, head of future proposition development for Barclaycard Merchant Services.

‘When (SilverCab) made the initial approach with this proposition it was quite clear that they fully understood the technical, commercial, retailer and consumer requirements necessary to get this operating in the marketplace.

As a result, we aim to continue to work with TNS and our other alliance partners to have 5,000 units after 12 months, rising to 15,000 in London alone.’

The average taxi fare currently paid on credit or debit cards is £46. Since 72% of taxi journeys are for business use, the convenience of being able to use the company credit card is also a major benefit for many passengers, especially for longer journeys.