Unitas has partnered with payment technology firm EchoPay to help its wholesale members save on banking charges in the next year.
EchoPay is said to enable businesses to take payments using open banking channels, rather than through more-costly debit and credit card providers (e.g., Visa and Mastercard). Typically, transfers using Visa and Mastercard cost the wholesaler 0.8-1.3% of the overall payment.
The partnership is one of several services Unitas is exploring to help its wholesale members reduce their costs, with analysis by EchoPay discovering that the average transaction in wholesale is £1,800, with £18 the average bank charge. EchoPay charges a small fraction of this per payment.
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The service is now rolling out across all Unitas members. Out of the group’s £8.5bn turnover, the service is already integrated with businesses that make up £1.3bn. This will be worth £1m in savings this year. If the service rolls out across the entire membership, it will generate £6.5m in savings for Unitas members each year.
Chris Gallacher, managing director of United Wholesale Scotland, said: “As cost pressures continue to rise in the wholesale/convenience channel, it’s becoming extremely difficult to continue to offer great margins that our retailers need. We have been looking at ways to reduce our controllable costs and EchoPay has been one of the biggest successes. It really is a frictionless method to pay with payments at UWS now over £500,000 a year we can use this saving to keep our prices down for our retailers.”
EchoPay has already integrated with Small Beer Wholesale and ABV Wholesale, which will save £40,000 and £20,000 a year respectively. Wilds of Oldham, R D Johns Foodservice and Venus Wine and Spirits Merchants have signed up in recent weeks.
Stephen Buckley, joint managing director of ABV Wholesale, said: “EchoPay is our default method of collecting payment from our customers. The ease and speed of sending links to customers has improved our efficiency and made it easier for them to pay. I would recommend EchoPay to any wholesaler.”