At Innovation Project 2017, Canadian payment solution company Payment Source snatched the top prize in the category of Best Cash Innovation for its in-person payment network Loadhub. PYMNTS caught up with CEO Trevor Cook after the fact to get the lowdown on what’s coming up next for the in-person payment network.
Today, consumers can use Payment Source’s Loadhub service to top off a prepaid card or make a bill or collections payment in person.
Essentially a last-mile payments solution, according to Cook, Loadhub enables businesses to collect consumer payments via in-person transactions by delivering them a QR code — sent via text or email or located on the bill statement or the back of the prepaid card, for instance. The code directs consumers to their local Canadian post office, where they can make a payment via cash or debit card.
While most consumers would be happy to use their credit card or pay online, Cook said that Loadhub covers the cases where consumers aren’t able or willing. This can be because they either don’t have the necessary tools at the time or fall into a category he called “digitally nervous.”
“If they have a choice to not do something online where their credentials are exposed,” Cook said, “then they don’t want to do it.”
Today, Loadhub has an exclusive partnership with post office locations across Canada.
“It’s the most extensive retail network in Canada — over 6,500 locations,” Cook said, noting that there is a post office within 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) of 98 percent of Canada’s population.
While Payment Source is considering expanding Loadhub into other physical locations, they’re being selective at the moment. The company has to assess retail partners on the consistency of their point of sale and its ability to handle a Loadhub transaction. Likewise, Payment Source wants to ensure the locations are consumer-trusted.
“Maybe you wouldn’t see yourself going to a gas station to make a $1,000 payment on a car loan,” Cook said. “But you can do that at the post office; it’s a trusted location.”
Other opportunities for expansion include growing cash-out features, integrating into business management solutions and creating a self-serve model to enable consumer-to-consumer transactions.
There’s no shortage of ideas, and some of these functionalities will be rolled out later this year, Cook said. But one key expansion Payment Source has its eyes on for Loadhub are possibilities to integrate into eCommerce sites.
This would give consumers the ability to shop for goods online and then, at the point of purchase, select an in-person payment option rather than choose from credit, debit or other online methods.
Cook envisions that shoppers who select the in-person option will receive a QR code with a time limit on it that will allow their basket to effectively remain on hold while they head to the post office to pay. If a customer doesn’t meet the deadline, the basket items go back into inventory.
“This is a real sweet spot for us.” Cook said. “We’ll be able to facilitate that very shortly.”
ECommerce functionality could put Payment Source in a unique position to partner with or compete against online retail giant Amazon, which just recently rolled out an in-person payment option of its own called Amazon Cash.
Cook suggested that, if anything, Payment Source would choose the former route, noting that some 72 percent of parcels shipped by Canada Post fulfill eCommerce purchases and that Amazon is by far Canada Posts’ largest eCommerce customer.
“We see ourselves as agnostic as much as possible,” Cook said. “We’d like to be able to top up anybody’s account regardless of where it is — that’s how we see ourselves participating. I certainly think there’s a potential partnership there for this way of doing business.”
Outside of eCommerce, there also exists a massive potential for Loadhub to facilitate government payments. On this matter, Payment Source is extremely bullish. Cook called Loadhub a great equalizer in payment solutions in this area.
“The government needs to be able to reach every community,” Cook said, “even if it’s only six people in three houses somewhere. We think there’s a tremendous fit with government payments and hope to be making an announcement in this area very shortly.”