Not long ago, the typical cab ride ended with both passenger and driver fumbling for cash — the passenger to pay the fare; the driver to make change. Today, cabbies take plastic, eliminating a pain point for the occupants of front and back seats alike. With a tap, dip or swipe of a credit or debit card, the driver gets paid; the passenger gets a receipt; and both sides of the transaction get on with their day.
Delivering that win-win has made Creative Mobile Technologies UK (CMT UK) the leading provider of taxi card payment systems in London, where more than 9,000 of the city’s iconic black cabs carry CMT UK’s card payment systems. Indeed, just five years after CMT UK began operating in London, it has captured 45% of the market for taxi card payment systems.1
CMT UK’s strong growth rests on the strength of its FREEdom SOLUTION mobile point-of-sale (POS) technology, which spares drivers and their passengers the hassles inherent in cash payments. With fewer cash transactions, drivers are less vulnerable to theft. At the same time, tip income often increases because CMT UK’s payment systems make tipping easy by providing passengers with pre-calculated tip options.
“Having an alternative to cash payments is crucial to the long-term future of the taxi industry because consumers today want the convenience and security that card payments provide,” said Jake Rosenzweig, director of operations at CMT UK, a subsidiary of U.S.-based CMT Group, whose mobile POS systems are in 45,000 licensed taxis in 150 U.S. cities.
“Passengers don’t like long wait times for their payments to be accepted;
drivers want to see credits in their account within 24 hours
and both want to know their financial information is safe.”
Jake Rosenzweig - Director of Operations, CMT UK
For CMT UK to successfully compete with other providers of taxi card payment systems, the company needs a payments processing company that can satisfy the two constituencies at the heart of its business — drivers and passengers. It has that in BofA Merrill Lynch Merchant Services, the European affiliate of Bank of America Merchant Services, which securely processes 17.3 billion transactions at more than 700,000 merchant locations.2
“Passengers don’t like long wait times for their payments to be accepted; drivers want to see credits in their account within 24 hours and both want to know their financial information is safe,” Rosenzweig said. “We chose BofA Merrill Lynch Merchant Services because they have the technology and expertise to complete transactions quickly and to protect our users’ financial information.”
Five years into CMT UK’s collaboration with BofA Merrill Lynch Merchant Services, Rosenzweig has nothing but praise for the company — and not only for its ability to quickly and reliably execute the transactions happening in its customers’ taxis.
“They do a lot more for us than just facilitate payments, as important as that is,” he said. “For one, they created a competitive pricing structure, which is critical to acquiring customers.” Just as important, he added, the company provides valuable guidance on subjects like regulation in the UK, while also advising on CMT UK’s ongoing effort to innovate in the payments space. Finally, the company’s global payments network supports CMT UK’s efforts to scale its business by pursuing new growth opportunities.
CMT UK plans to expand aggressively in both the United Kingdom and across Europe, in part by building out its product offering. For example, the company intends to roll out Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), which allows foreign travelers to see the cost of their rides in their home currencies when they pay their fares.
Another product Rosenzweig deems critical to achieving the company’s expansion goals is a “light” payment solution that will make electronic payments viable for operators in areas where the average fare is too small to fund the elaborate payment systems gracing taxis in London, New York and other pricey markets.
Rosenzweig said he expects BofA Merrill Lynch Merchant Services to play a key role in helping CMT UK meet its strategic goals because it can support diverse payment technologies; execute transactions in more than 130 currencies; and advise on all facets of the payments landscape in Europe, where multiple acquirers, alternative payment systems and the European regulatory maze make expanding into new markets a challenge.
“They do a lot more for us than just facilitate payments …they [also] created a competitive pricing structure, which is critical to acquiring customers.”