My anonymous (by request) retailer runs a small CTN in a seaside town, and is a former PayPoint agent. “We had PayPoint for many years and were disillusioned that the bank’s cash handling fee was larger than the commission earned on utility bills and the like, effectively meaning we were providing the service at a loss.

“We switched banks to A&L which has a better deal on cash handling; who promptly lost £2,000 cash and a bundle of cheques worth nearly £500. The problem was resolved over the next two weeks, but it was stressful and time-consuming as well as affecting our cash flow. Also the queueing in the post office was far worse than the bank, so we switched back within three months.” 

That’s the background. His main reason for emailing was in response to previous letters on the subject of footfall. 

“In the last days of having PayPoint I did an analysis of each customer who used the terminal (excluding mobile top-ups, where the commission may be measly but it is higher than the bank’s fee). I monitored exactly how much each customer paid through the terminal, what commission I earned from that, what bank fee I would pay, and what else the customer bought while in the store, later roughly working out what profit I made on the additional sales (sale price less cost). 

“My study lasted a full two weeks. In short, after handling more than £4,000 in utility bills and the like, I was £8 to the good. (Additional sale profit plus PayPoint commission minus bank handling charge). Yes that’s £8 over two weeks.” 

He asked PayPoint for permission to do mobile top-ups only but was refused. 

He concludes: “I’ve switched mobile supplier, ironically to Payzone, who are happy for me to do top-ups only. The service has been okay, if not outstanding. 

“My footfall may be down, my shop sales may be down, but my bank balance hasn’t noticed it.”