Bowe’s Tyres have been a BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA) customer for almost a year. They offer a full fleet of services, maintenance and repairs ranging from car washing, diagnostics, tracking wheel alignment, resolving timing belt issues and exhaust repairs, along with car sales. Since they first opened their doors in Portlaoise 14 years ago, the company has gone from strength to strength by cementing itself as one of the midlands most reliable auto centres. Within this time owner Paul Bowe, notes how his business has seen a marked increase in the number of customers opting to pay by card, particularly for big ticket items, extensive repairs and premium services.
Paul and his team of experienced mechanics have thrived through a decade and a half of macro-economic uncertainties while also setting themselves apart from the competition. Opening at the height of the last recession, Bowe’s Tyres have become an established auto care and support destination despite the economic downturn, the impacts of Brexit and Covid-19 restrictions.
Adapting to changing circumstances as well as keeping customer needs at the heart of what they do, with first in class customer support and services, has played a huge role in their growth from start up to established automotive experts.
Paul reflects that offering card payments to meet customers’ changing payment preferences during that time is an example of their ability to adapt and match customer needs.
“It’s obvious looking back at our statements now compared to when we first started offering card payments at point of sale how it’s jump in popularity as a payment preference. It’s all card payments in the shop these days. I’d say even 85% of transactions are now made through card, particularly with younger customers. They mightn’t be carrying cash on them, so paying through the card terminal is the easiest option.”
BOIPA’s survey results on Irish consumers’ attitude and behaviours towards payments last year revealed that the higher the purchase, the more likely it is to be paid for with a cash alternative payment option.
Paul also acknowledged the preference for card payments growing more popular for larger transactions, like car sales and their premium services and offerings. “For more expensive purchases and premium services, it’s card generally that our customers want to pay with. We rarely accept cheques as they could bounce and they are becoming less frequently used anyway. Card is more secure, easy and quick to complete a payment for both us and our customers.”
The other interesting payment trend that Paul touches on is the rising popularity for mobile payments*. The number of customers paying through their phone or wearable device continues to increase, particularly with more customers becoming aware that there is no contactless limit given the built-in security features associated with these devices. Paul re-affirms this saying on that any given day up to half of all non-cash payments could be made by tapping a phone or watch.
With the majority of Irish customers preferring to now pay by card, the general switch to more card transactions at the expense of cash and cheque has also been viewed positively by most Irish automotive businesses.
Payments go directly into the merchant’s account with less regular bank
lodgements required and payment providers like BOIPA offering next day settlement. Businesses within the automotive sector also feels that it reduces administrative tasks as well as costs associated with handing cash and cheques. Paul agrees that the change has had a similar effect on his business.
“Having less cash to handle on-site makes it safer and easier for me and my team and lessens our trips to the bank to lodge money. That allows us redirect time to giving more support to our customers. For recording and reporting purposes, it also allows me to check up on daily transactions and my statement at the end of each month.”
Putting their customers in the driver’s seat has been part and parcel of what Bowe’s Tyres continue to do with their online reviews testifying to their heightened ability to offer a full range of automotive services and products..
Whether it’s offering a full servicing for an NCT test, replacing tyres or completing a car sale, accommodating consumers’ payment preference with a card terminal from a trusted payment provider like BOIPA accentuates this drive to meet their customers’ demands in all aspects of their engagement with them.
The clear benefit businesses like Bowe’s Tyres receive from offering card payment options is a fully supported customer base that’s grown increasingly familiar with completing transactions through card, phone or wearable device. The additional business advantages from the general transition from cash to card payments are obvious too with less cash on-site next day settlement and other administrative duties becoming reduced and simplified in the process.