03 Dec BOIPA: From Greenfield Beginnings to Trusted Market Leader
Bank of Ireland Group and EVO Payments recently announced the extension of their successful marketing partnership under the BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA) brand.
BOIPA is one of the country’s leading payment services providers, employing over 150 staff and supporting businesses of all sizes for in-person, online, over the phone and pay by link transactions. The latter is an example of the company’s ability to embrace new cashless payment systems, with BOIPA Collect enabling merchants to request payments by SMS or email.
The brand now stands as the trusted and recognised market leader for providing payment services and technology integrations. It’s been an exciting and innovation-driven journey to cement this status when BOIPA began from a standing start back in 2014.
BOIPA’s managing director, Brian Cleary has spent almost 20 years holding leadership roles within the Irish financial sector. He shares his thoughts on the challenges, opportunities and innovation BOIPA has embraced, as well as what’s been the bedrock of the company’s success.
Going remote might have only become en vogue in March 2020 but BOIPA were ahead of this trend with no physical location to operate from in 2014.
Cleary, who was Head of Cards and Loans within Bank of Ireland before moving to BOIPA remembers the benefits of EVO’s bid and their understanding of Bank of Ireland’s ambitions.
“EVO went through the full tender process to partner with Bank of Ireland and it became apparent early on that they ticked a lot of boxes and the company was ready to invest heavily in the Irish market,” recalls Cleary, “Their proposal understood the bank’s ambition to drive cutting-edge technology that disrupted and advanced the payment services market.”
Winning the contract presented the opportunity and challenge of a green-field entry for BOIPA, starting with no customer base, zero brand recognition within the Irish payments market, no physical premises and a small team of around thirty staff. What they did have, Cleary points out, was “a strong cultural fit, a robust relationship with the Bank of Ireland and real ambitions to firstly gain a strong foothold in the SME market rather quickly.”
Those ambitions would soon start to be realised as BOIPA secured their first customers within their first days of operations with the same customer-centred approach used today, which saw BOIPA land an ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) Award last year.
“We’ve continued a very determined approach into the ISV space and by engaging with and supporting corporate clients.”
Their recent partnership with Premier Lotteries Ireland DAC to supply the payment gateway technology for the Irish National Lottery online platforms is a very tangible example of BOIPA’s ambition to support more businesses in the corporate space.
BOIPA’s investment in such payment platforms is reflective of businesses availing of more innovative options to match customers growing awareness of the advantages of cashless transactions over the time they’ve been in the market.
Ireland amongst the most agile nations in transitioning to cashless transactions
The development of technology supporting innovations like digital wallets, unattended payment interfaces and pay by link functionalities, as well as an increase in the popularity of payment gateways and contactless payments, has revolutionised the payment services landscape from what it was in 2014.
While Cleary’s excitement around the advancement of new payment solutions is obvious, he is keen to note the value of their simplicity for users and businesses.
“For customers and merchants, payments are securely approved in under a second as they move through all the necessary checks and data centres in the background. It can be easy take that technology for granted.”
We’ve seen the benefits for customers with our Way2Pay and Collect technology streamlining how businesses take payments and engage with their customers. These intuitive interfaces have helped deliver a simple and seamless experience for the customer despite the complexity of the software, which works invisibly the background.”
Undoubtedly the advantages of a seamless payment service experience for Irish consumers has been fully embraced over the last decade with BOIPA’s managing director highlighting that Ireland is amongst the most agile nations in transitioning to cashless transactions.
“Nordic countries don’t use cash for over 90% of their purchases and they’re often cited as best in class. Ireland isn’t too far behind with around 83% of our transactions not involving cash. It’s entirely possible 90% of our transactions will be cashless over the next few years.”
With the increase in the preference for cashless payments the number of new businesses that have entered the payment services space during BOIPA’s tenure in Ireland has come as no surprise to him.
“There has been many new entrants and consolidators in the market. The competition has been good for the sector but some can flatter to deceive.”
“We might not always get it right,” Cleary acknowledges, “but we get it right 99% of the time, always do our best for our customer and are upfront about what we can deliver.”
Human support behind digital advances
Cleary’s last point touches on what has been the bedrock of the company’s growth from an entry level start-up to a considerable player: its people and their commitment to placing customer needs and service at the centre of what they do.
BOIPA’s transparent payment options with no hidden fees is complimented with on the ground engineer installation and support, 24/7 customer service and an experienced leadership team.
“There’s a lot of people still working at BOIPA that were here during our first year and those who have moved on have generally advanced in their careers from their experience here. Our people’s abilities and commitment to our customers shone through when Covid-19 shut the country down in March 2020. Everyone adapted quickly to keep businesses supported from their kitchens, bedrooms and even under the stairs at times. That was a phenomenal achievement during trying times.”
Europeans more inclined to pay with cash alternatives
About BOI Payment Acceptance
BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA) is a marketing alliance between Bank of Ireland and EVO Payments. EVO Payments, Inc. (NASDAQ: EVOP) is a leading payment technology and services provider. EVO offers an array of innovative, reliable, and secure payment solutions to merchants ranging from small and mid-size enterprises to multinational companies and organizations across the globe. As a fully integrated merchant acquirer and payment processor in over 50 markets and 150 currencies worldwide, EVO provides competitive solutions that promote business growth, increase customer loyalty, and enhance data security in the markets it serves.