Thursday, March 18, 2004

Goodbye Interpay, hello Trans Link Systems... ?

Last week, Automatisering Gids (paid access) featured an article on payments in public transport. One company, Trans Link Systems (TLS) will process all payments on behalf of transport companies.

Now the interesting thing is that until this month, we had a real monopoly in transporting debit-card authorisations. This was all done by Interpay and merchants had to have a contract with Interpay. This led to a lot of complaints on the monopoly structue and fees involved. Having studied this structure, the central bank advised that the system should become more open; a second processor should be allowed and merchants would no longer need to have a contract with Interpay but with their bank. This change took effect this month.

But with TLS we will see a comeplete copy of the old Interpay monopoly structure emerging for public transport companies, using the TLS_payment system. Except for one different detail. Although indeed there is a monopoly, the shareholders of TLS have agreed that the maximum return on investment for shareholders will be 10 %. So if profits of TLS are larger it should show up in lower fees....