A new service raises questions over stores’ loyalty to electronic payments

Store owners are once again questioning the value of payment terminals after PayPoint launched a new scheme which requires stores to pay customers' energy credits out of their tills.

I removed PayPoint in March and haven't missed it. The bank charges I had to pay for a 0.1% commission were ridiculous. I'm actually saving money by not having it. I wouldn't have it back for 10% commission." 
Atul Sodha Peverells, Harefield, Middlesex 

Payzone does provide some knock-on sales, but these are cancelled out by bank charges. Retailers have been brainwashed into accepting low margins for a lot of work. I'm not sure there's a future in bill payment services." 
David Lowe Welbourn Post Office & Stores, Lincoln 

PayPoint may bring in extra footfall, but the commission barely covers the costs and bank charges. This needs to be examined." Saqib Ghafoor Nisa, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
The company's latest scheme allows prepaying British Gas, EON and EDF Energy customers who have overpaid to claim cash refunds of up to £16 in store but retailers will have to wait up to three days before they are refunded. They say that this, combined with low commissions, makes the terminals no longer worth having.

Dennis Williams of Broadway Convenience Store in Edinburgh told C-Store he was concerned the scheme could actually end up costing him money. "While people will come to use the scheme, it means that there may be more queues at the till which could ultimately lose us customers," he said. "I only want PayPoint to treat us fairly and give us the commission we deserve for the hard work we do."

Barrie Seymour of Londis Liversedge in West Yorkshire also slammed the new scheme. "It's yet another delay at the counter for a tiny commission," he said. Barrie, who last year was threatened with the removal of his terminal after his first late payment in 12 years, is currently resisting PayPoint's attempts to sign him up to a new five-year contract. "They treat retailers like pawns even though we do so much work for it with very little return," he added.

"It's just not viable for retailers, but we're forced to supply it for our customers because if we didn't they'd be stuck without electricity or gas."

PayPoint head of corporate affairs Peter Brooker said that the new five-year contracts were a means of offering stability to the retailer and that many operators had signed them. He added that the refund service would help store owners cut down on bank charges as they would have less cash to deposit.