Wednesday, 22 September 2010

CabCard and Rainbow City Taxis Aberdeen

Established in 1984, Rainbow City Taxis is one of the largest taxi fleets in Scotland with around 290 vehicles. Their business approach is one of the most technically advanced in the taxi industry, using the latest data despatch, GPS satellite car location and fully integrated digital telephone call handling systems.

At Rainbow, customer care is a top priority. As Managing Director Russell McLeod confirmed:
“We continuously strive to improve the quality of our service so when we were looking for a firm to provide us with a card payment facility, we knew we needed to find a company with first-class credentials. CabCard seemed to fit the bill.”
Last year, Rainbow made the decision to equip their entire fleet with secure card payment terminals so that every one of their drivers could have the facility to take payment by Chip & PIN. This cutting-edge type of secure PIN-verified payment technology allows the firm to eliminate the risk of financial loss through chargebacks.

Not only that, since the Chip & PIN system is fully compliant with stringent PCI DSS regulations, the company doesn't face the devastating prospect of heavy fines and bank blacklisting as a result of any fraudulent transactions. Such technology stands head and shoulders above the many insecure systems used in the taxi industry (such as those which transfer card details by radio or mobile phone) and Rainbow's commitment to using Chip & PIN technology ensures security and peace of mind for their customers and for the firm itself.

Russell explained some of the company's reasons for going Chip & PIN:
“We have a wide range of passengers and everyone appreciates the convenience of being able to pay by card; in particular we have a large number of workers from the oil and gas industry travelling in and out of Aberdeen. These guys expect to be able to pay by card, so we decided to invest in the CabCard Service.

“CabCard provided the mobile terminals and ensured that all the drivers were fully trained on their usage. We then set about promoting the Chip & PIN service. We used a number of media including a radio campaign which was very effective and raised a lot of interest as it alluded to Her Majesty the Queen using our service!

“Since then we haven’t looked back. The drivers really appreciate the professional service that they can now offer to their passengers, and as a company Rainbow has enjoyed a new and recurring revenue stream as a result of taking the CabCard service on board.”
The CabCard Service is now well established as the number one service provider for small or large fleets plus the independent driver. For further information go to or call us on 0845 491 8410.

Chip, PIN & expand your service with CabCard

With over 420 vehicles, Central Taxis is the largest hackney fleet in Edinburgh. Central appreciate that their business is all about providing customers with the best service possible and these days that means offering alternative and convenient methods of paying for their taxi journey.

Fewer and fewer people carry cash these days and they also expect to be able to pay by debit or credit card and by chip & PIN which is the only safe and secure way to transact card payments face to face.

Last October, Central Taxis Edinburgh equipped every cab in their fleet with the CabCard mobile card payment system. This was a very positive move for them and gave Central the comfort of a fully PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant system approved by the likes of Visa and others. It has given them the edge over their competitors and helped maintain their position as the foremost Taxi company in Edinburgh.

Colin Anderson of Central Taxis commented:
“We have seen a significant increase in card transacted business which is important for us and our customers. At first it was mainly business travellers and tourists using the facility, but now we see it is important for our customers right across the spectrum to be able to pay by card. The student market in particular is an important market for us and they never have any cash, but they all have cards. We like the fact that CabCard manage everything, including all administration and payment to our owner drivers.”
Central Taxis and CabCard have also collaborated to develop a bespoke service provided by CabCard. Each mobile card payment terminal runs a second application to manage and capture all account work data. Now with the press of a key, account jobs can be allocated and reconciled within minutes. This has revolutionised Central’s Account work administration. Drivers no longer have to report weekly to the office with wads of paper slips from account customers and
the office team can efficiently invoice account work out. Billing is much faster and this results in getting account jobs paid more speedily.

Colin Anderson expressed the thoughts of all the staff when he praised the CabCard service:
“Our drivers have found the system very easy to use, our accountant is thrilled because we are more efficient, saving money and time on administration and the customers also see the advantage in cost saving to them. This has resulted in us picking up new contracts as well as improving relations with established customers”.
The CabCard Service is now well established as the number one service provider for
small or large fleets plus the independent driver. For details and further information contact them today by going to or by telephone on 0845 491 8410.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Taking Cards: Your Guide to Card Payments in the Taxi Industry

(Please note this article was not originally written for this blog but was published elsewhere).

These days, you can use a credit or debit card to pay for just about anything from almost anywhere. Whether it's a lunchtime sandwich or a new sofa, cards are an indispensable part of day-to-day modern living. In 2009, there were 162.6 million cards in issue UK-wide (UK Cards Association figures) and anecdotal evidence suggests that many people are more likely to be carrying cards than cash.

Increasing card use has led to a large-scale sea change across the taxi industry. Passengers now expect to be able to pay for taxi journeys by card, with drivers and fleets who are unable to accept this type of payment losing fares as a result. This is particularly galling for those who see their rivals taking higher value longer fares (from corporate passengers, for example) which are far more likely to be paid by card since passengers often simply don't have the appropriate cash.

If you're looking to join the revolution by taking cards in your taxi, there are various solutions available for you, but all the jargon is often confusing for someone unacquainted with the intricacies of card payments. We've outlined some of the options here, and highlighted some of the major pitfalls to watch out for when getting started with cards.

Going it Alone: Stuck in the MIDdle

One possibility for drivers would be to ask a bank whether they'll issue you with a Merchant ID (MID) and the appropriate hardware to take payments yourself. For most drivers though, this isn't really a serious option due to: the complexity of the application process; the requirement for bank-approved merchant status; high minimum weekly transaction volumes; expensive bank fees; liability for fraudulent transactions and often the need to purchase the costly hardware from your bank. The vast majority of drivers need turn to a card payment service provider instead. Handily, there are a few of these services around, and some of them are tailored specifically to cater for the unique requirements of the taxi trade.

Finding The Right Provider

Choosing the best service provider for your needs is extremely important. There are lots of companies in the UK who provide a generic card payments service, and whose clients range from pubs to ice cream salesmen. Many of these firms initially operated in a separate industry, and they treat taxis as a “tacked-on” additional offering. Taxi drivers often find these providers inadequate for their needs, since their line of work demands a constantly mobile, instant payment solution in which they are unlikely to ever see their customer again, and frequently a driver's cashflow situation doesn't allow for the same flexibility (of time from the moment of a fare being paid to the moment that money arrives in the driver's account) as a larger business would. In short, taxi drivers need cards to behave just like cash.

The cash-based model

Some providers decided to approach this problem on a cash-based model: a driver takes payment by card, keeps his copy of the receipt, physically drives to meet his provider (who has bundles of cash delivered regularly) and is then paid for his transaction in cash. The flaws of such an approach are immediately obvious: the expense of moving cash in transit, coupled with the requirement for someone to be on-hand to pay the appropriate drivers, as well as the enormous problem of accounts reconciling using this system make the platform inefficient and not scalable beyond a certain size. Unfortunately, some companies have found this to their peril, and have become inoperable because of their flawed model, leaving their drivers without a card payment solution and out of pocket as a result.

A Thoroughly Modern Approach

Thankfully, there are firms who have adopted a far more up-to-date, automated approach to card payments within the taxi industry. One such firm is CabCard Services, which was established in 2006 and has gone from strength to strength, providing a first-rate card payment solution to thousands of drivers and fleets across the UK and Ireland. Richard Akitt, CabCard's financial director, explained why his company's business model works so well for drivers:

“Because our system operates on a centralised basis, our service is totally scalable. All our financial, accounting and customer service expertise acts as a cohesive unit from one place, and paying directly to our drivers' bank accounts has allowed us to provide our service throughout the length and breadth of the UK and in Ireland too. Recently, we've also added the facility to pay drivers their fares directly to a prepaid Visa card, called the CabCash card because it makes card transactions behave just like cash payments. This is great for three reasons:

“First, it means we can cost-effectively pay drivers more than once per week on a daily basis, as soon as the payment clears our bank. This eases the cashflow problems drivers can face when other providers pay them monthly or fortnightly.

“Second, the ability to pay drivers directly onto a prepaid card is fantastic for fleet managers, who can slash their administration costs by paying individual account work automatically and even collecting despatch rentals using the cards.

“Third, our card offering has various consumer-facing developments, including loyalty-style rewards systems for passengers, which help drive more business into the taxi trade and lets firms develop their customer-base more competitively.”

CabCard's innovative and highly-tailored approach to card payments has earned them plaudits from across the taxi industry and elsewhere, including from driving instructors throughout the UK who benefit from the CabCard service.

Terminal Velocity: Hard-Wearing Hardware

When it comes to taking cards, the most important issue is security. It's in everybody's interests to protect card payments against fraud, from the cardholder (passenger) and the merchant (driver) to the bank. Card fraud is a serious crime in the UK, with card fraud losses in 2009 totalling £440.3m in 2009 (UK Cards Association figures). You need to make sure that you're using a secure card payment method, because if you don't you might find you're liable for the costs of fraudulent transactions.

As explained on, “Since January 1 2005, if a retailer does not have a Chip and PIN acceptance device, and the use of such a device could have prevented the fraud from occurring, the retailer may bear the cost of a fraudulent transaction.” It's worth bearing in mind that in 2009, according to the UK Cards Association, “the two main areas of fraud were on transactions not protected by Chip and PIN” and furthermore, “the introduction of Chip and PIN means that lost and stolen card fraud is now at its lowest level since the collation of industry fraud losses began in 1991.”


You should always check that the hardware you're using to take cards is fully compliant with PCI DSS, a set of security standards which aims to dramatically reduce card fraud. This is particularly relevant to fleet operators who are trying to take cards using their own Merchant ID (MID). If your hardware isn't PCI compliant, you could find yourself at risk of large fines imposed by your bank, or being placed on an inter-bank blacklist (losing future ability to take cards) if you fall victim to fraud or disingenuous passengers who use chargebacks to withdraw payment after the journey is over.

Again, there are various hardware options available, and some are far more secure than others. For instance, some taxi fleets use an old-style swipe slot which integrates with their despatch system. This leaves card details open to interception over the open radio frequencies, and since it isn't Chip & PIN, you could be liable for fraudulent transactions.

Beware Smartphones

The increasing popularity of smartphones has led to the introduction of various payment 'apps' which at first glance seem to be a cheap solution to taking mobile card payments. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to assess to what extent these devices are PCI compliant, since a mobile phone can easily be compromised by hackers, and these 'apps' invariably have no Chip & PIN facility, which again could leave you vulnerable to fraud. Perhaps more importantly, drivers often note that customers feel uncomfortable putting their card details into their taxi driver's mobile phone, and the whole process (usually slow, as dictated by mobile phone reception) smacks of an unprofessional approach – not least because the device can't even print them a receipt.

Integration - a restrictive option?

Some providers have started to offer drivers a so-called “integrated” solution, in which various elements are installed into a driver's vehicle. This will usually include two payment terminals (one for the driver, one for the passenger) and an advertising screen of some description which the service provider uses for additional revenue. This type of system was forced by law onto taxi drivers in New York City, for instance. Many UK drivers feel this kind of integrated system may appeal much to UK drivers, since the high costs of installation usually mean drivers have to sign lengthy contracts of five years or more. Since the system is linked to a vehicle, not to an individual driver, this can cause problems if a taxi is shared between two or more drivers, or if a driver wishes to sell, exchange, service or repair his vehicle without losing the ability to take cards.

Mobile Chip & PIN

In view of all this, perhaps the best solution on the market today in terms of hardware comes from those firms who provide a basic secure mobile Chip & PIN terminal, of the sort used in most shops. These devices, which are totally wireless and linked to individual drivers (not installed to a particular vehicle) are secure, PCI-compliant hardware which take payment in seconds and provide receipts for both passenger and driver. They can be removed from a vehicle between shifts, and, as is the case with firms like CabCard Services, linked directly to a driver's bank account or prepaid card. Not only that, the fact that this type of card terminal is already commonplace, with passengers already accustomed to using them in shops, pubs and other businesses, means that they're already comfortable with the technology and know that it's secure. This has the added bonus of enhancing the driver's or fleet's professional image.

In short, we believe that a simple Chip & PIN terminal, as provided by CabCard Services, is by far the most elegant, robust and secure solution for taking card payments in today's taxi industry – one which carries clear benefits to passengers and drivers, as well as fleet administrators. Remember that above all, security and protection against card fraud should be your paramount concerns when choosing a card provider; as APACS spokeswoman Jemma Smith points out, “History shows that fraudsters target the weakest link in the chain.” Those who do not adopt the Chip & PIN system are likely to attract card criminals who will target the weakest links.


Overall, drivers seem to be very impressed with the service provided by CabCard Services, and their innovative payment system and high quality customer service certainly seems to have a good deal of mileage. The firm encourages customers to shop around because they know their offering is absolutely first-rate, and their fees and pricing structure are very easy to understand and completely transparent – they're certainly not playing their cards close to their chest. For more information on their services, visit or call 0845 491 8410.

Friday, 17 September 2010

CabCard Services expands team

Card payment firm CabCard Services is pleased to announce the appointment of Dáša Mojžiš as Business Development Manager at their Isle of Man headquarters, strengthening the team on the Island and further supporting their UK presence.

Dáša draws on over 12 years' operational management experience in the e-commerce and card payment industry, and has been part of the Island's payment processing industry over the past five years. Dáša commented:

“I have gained extensive experience over the years and I look forward to making use of this knowledge base in the exciting opportunities to come as part of CabCard. It's a company that continues to excel, with the recent launch of a prepaid CabCash Visa card and with many other payment-related products and incentives on the way.”

Dáša is also a keen runner and is currently in training for the Dublin marathon in October.

CabCard has been operational since 2006, delivering a complete Chip & PIN card payment solution to the taxi industry. Dáša's addition to the CabCard team is a signal of strength for the company, forming part of its strategic expansion. Malcolm Jamieson, Director of CabCard Services, said:

"We are pleased with the success of the company and are thrilled to have the talent and experience of Dáša on the team to support us through our growth and continual development as we expand on our current service offerings."

Chip & PIN technology is continuing to revolutionise the taxi industry, with plastic becoming as widespread as cash and a marked increase in demand, particularly from business travellers who prefer to use their corporate cards to pay for taxi fares rather than cash.

CabCard provides taxi drivers and fleets with a fast, affordable and secure way to accept card payments. Drivers using their service avoid the hassle of merchant accounts, PCI compliance standards, complex administration and the risk of chargeback from non-Chip & PIN transactions.

For further information go to or call us on 0845 491 8410.