Thursday, June 28, 2007

RBS Launches US Payment Gateway

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), which has been handling overseas transactions for U.S.-based online merchants, has unveiled a new service that will compete for transactions generated within the U.S. as well as those coming from foreign customers. "Now we can handle merchants’ transactions through a single gateway," says Josh Groves, president of the San Francisco-based Retailer Solutions, North America unit of RBS. "We’ve been selling in the U.S., [saying] let us do your non-U.S. transactions. Now with this combined gateway we can do everything."

The new service combines three platforms RBS operates in Europe and the U.S.: Atlanta-based merchant processor RBS Lynk, Bibit Global Payment Services, based in the Netherlands, and Streamline, a U.K. acquirer. Bibit provides back-end settlement and authorization for all card transactions funneled to it via RBS Lynk and Streamline, which can convert 14 currencies. The gateway currently serves 2,000 merchants, about 100 of which are in the U.S., including job site Groves refuses to disclose current or projected transaction volume.

The RBS service is PCI-compliant, enabling merchants to accept online credit card payment without having to store the card information or become PCI-compliant themselves. The gateway also helps merchants determine the level of risk for transactions before they are sent for authorization, meaning that merchants can lower the risk of incurring charges for fraudulent transactions.

The new business unit has a U.S. sales force of 20 calling on large and medium-size merchants. A distribution strategy to reach smaller merchants through e-commerce software developers, hosting companies, and larger IT developers is under development.

Pricing will be key. “In the U.S., pricing is very competitive,” says Groves, who will not give details beyond noting that "we’re competitive with [gateways like] CyberSource."

Ironically, last fall Island Pacific, Inc., a leader in retail POS and Merchandising software solutions, inked an agreement with RBS Lynk to offer full-service integrated payment processing solutions through its Retail Pro Payment Solutions division. The three-year agreement with RBS Lynk would allow Retail Pro to offer an embedded payment solution with support for credit, debit, check, gift, loyalty club payments and more.

The Island Pacific software is an integrated application suite consisting of POS and store operations, merchandising, planning, business intelligence, and customer management/CRM available in 18 languages and localized for use in 73 countries around the world at over 35,000 retail customer locations.

"This is an exciting arrangement for us, as well as RBS Lynk," said Kerry Kodatt, Vice President of Retail Pro Payment Solutions. "As a registered ISO ["Independent Sales Organization," or middleman] through RBS’s US subsidiary, Citizens Bank, we are now well-positioned to deliver robust, multi-faceted payment solutions which provide our customers reduced costs through very competitive rates and create a significant new revenue stream for Island Pacific/Retail Pro and its business partners."

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