Easing Taxi Drivers’ Cash Flow Headaches With mPOS

For SMBs, “cash-only” can be a double-edged sword: instant access to funds at the cost of turning away card-holding customers who can spend more than the money in their pockets. In the latest mPOS Tracker, PYMNTS examines providers’ efforts to solve for both, including an interview with myPOS CEO Irfan Rasmally on how industry-specific features and instant settlements are pushing traditionally cash-centric merchants toward card payment via mPOS.

Taxi driving can be a difficult career path to navigate. Pay is often low, with drivers in Italy and the U.K. reportedly earning fewer than $10 an hour. They must also regularly deal with the costs of staying in business, like gas, taxi insurance or those of buying, renting or maintaining the actual taxi itself. Drivers want to take home as many fares as possible — and have those funds on-hand as quickly as possible, too — so they’re ready whenever personal or work-related expenses arise.

Taxi fleet operators are no different, dealing with logistical challenges like tracking drivers’ earnings and work-related spending. As such, they often have the same payment pain points as independent drivers.

Using the right payments acceptance solution could be the key to getting over that payments speed bump, according to Irfan Rasmally, business director of small enterprise mPOS solutions provider myPOS. The company currently serves nearly 4,500 taxi businesses in Europe, including individual drivers and taxi fleet companies alike.

Speeding Up Settlement

The largest hurdle most taxi drivers face is the painful wait to access earnings for fares paid by card, Rasmally explained. Drivers typically receive these payments in a couple of days, but the wait can be exceptionally lengthy if they accept a payment on a Friday, then have to wait through the weekend and into the middle of the following week to receive their funds. The empty gas tank can’t wait four days, either, and the drivers must fill it with out-of-pocket funds if they hope to earn more wages in the intervening days.

Using a comprehensive POS solution can help get drivers paid more quickly, though.

“[With a typical POS solution, taxi drivers], at a minimal level, get settlement funds after two days,” Rasmally said. “In worse cases, depending on how many intermediaries there are in the cycle of payments, it can take them up to one week to get the funds. This is not interesting for taxi drivers, because they have to have a certain cash flow in order to refuel their cars, run the business and take care of the expenses.”

The delay between payment acceptance and actual access can make drivers eager to stick to serving customers who pay in cash, which provides instant funds. Accepting cash comes with its own problems, however, as it can be risky for a driver to carry a lot of it at the end of each day. In addition, only serving cash customers means turning away those who can only pay with cards or mobile payment methods.

To solve this problem, myPOS developed an mPOS solution that delivers instant settlement of authorized electronic payments — minus a fee — into an online electronic money account. Drivers can access those funds online, or use a provided Visa business debit card to make in-store payments or withdraw cash at a nearby ATM. Larger taxi operations can use an app to block, unblock and set spending limits for each card.

The solution supports debit and credit card acceptance, as well as contactless payments made by smartphone or smartwatch. Currently, myPOS serves taxi drivers in 22 European countries via acceptance of a variety of card brands — like Mastercard, Visa, JCB, UnionPay and some local brands — for rider payments.

Hailing New Payment Features

Faster access to payments isn’t the only problem plaguing taxi firms, of course. Drivers need a way to accept tips, and larger organizations need help managing their fleets during busy times.

myPOS introduced a new feature, enabling fleet drivers to sign into a car’s mPOS device with their own identification codes, helping to clear these roadblocks for its users. This allows the taxi company to obtain more accurate, detailed data on the revenue each driver generates, and view related information on a business-facing myPOS app.

In-app payments are also becoming increasingly important, and the company now enables riders to order ahead and pay through app — much in the way that consumers use ridesharing firms Uber and Lyft.

“For the transportation industry, there are more and more requests for in-app payments,” Rasmally said. “We would like [the] comfort of ordering a taxi from our home, office, supermarket or restaurant — to just order the taxi and have it come here, without conversing or removing any card, and to just pay the driver in-app.”

myPOS plans to keep driving its payment solutions going forward. It’s currently working to expand the number of payment methods accepted by its mPOS terminals and bring its service to more countries. This will entail meeting the software and language needs of each new market.

While those aspects vary, one thing stays the same: Taxi drivers must be able to easily accept electronic payments and quickly access their funds. It may be that the road to better taxi business is paved with good (payment) inventions.