In 2018, the number of debit card payments in the UK officially surpassed those of cash transactions for the first time. Where cash was once king, it is quickly being usurped by the 700 million monthly taps of contactless payments and the clicks of ever-enthusiastic online shoppers. (In fact, the country’s “coin mountain” recently led the Royal Mint to announce plans to pause the creation of new 2p and £2 coins for at least ten years.)

It is a trend that has only been enhanced by the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses have encouraged card-only payments because of concerns that the virus may spread via banknotes and coins, and more consumers have turned to buying online, as stores initially closed and then reopened with restrictive measures in place.

The popularity of cashless transactions has made payment processing a big business and, historically, quite an expensive one, especially for smaller merchants. But now, Total Processing is shaking things up, with an innovative and agile approach to the market that makes serious demands of the major players.

Having secured a £5m term loan from BOOST&Co under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the organisation is looking to scale its operations, using the cash to invest in infrastructure, recruitment, marketing and geographic expansion, as well as setting aside a significant portion for potential future acquisitions.

Leaner and more agile than global competitors

Founded in 2015, the Manchester-based firm is a high-growth fintech disruptor, offering full-service payment processing at a fraction of the cost of the major players. Delivering solutions for online and phone transactions, plus point-of-sale payments, merchant accounts and payment gateways, the company’s target demographic is, essentially, anyone who takes non-cash payments and wants to do so at a lower cost.

Payment processing technology is constantly evolving, but the business has been able to ride this wave to deliver a high-quality, complete proposition at a lower cost, leading to recent big wins against its international competitors. It is also a much leaner organisation, without the huge costs that are attached to the multi-billion-pound global players, which means it has the capacity to be agile, focusing on the latest infrastructure technology and selecting suitable partners with whom to work.

“We’re delighted to have secured funding to accelerate our growth across domestic and international markets,” says Cameron Lee, chief executive at Total Processing. “The team at BOOST&Co has been great from start to finish and has really taken the time to understand our business model and disruptive proposition.”

“With an intelligent, energetic and forward-thinking management team, the company has been profitable from day one,” says Ryan Sorby, principal at BOOST&Co and head of the lender’s Manchester office. “Total Processing has a proven business model, and as the business continues to scale, it looks likely to deliver the triple-digit growth it has seen year-on-year, which is incredibly impressive. The momentum is almost tangible.”

The proof is in the processing

Merchants that expect to receive receipts worth tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds from customers want to be sure that they are working with a payment processing organisation that has a robust infrastructure and poses no risk in terms of cybersecurity. But the current financial climate means that business owners are also looking at ways to minimise unnecessary costs. Total Processing is well-placed to address both of these concerns.

The firm’s biggest challenge is one often encountered by younger, high-growth businesses, in that potential customers can wrongly associate capability with size. However, Total Processing has made strides with a number of recent, high-profile enterprise-level deals, showing that a small and dynamic organisation can be as reliable and efficient as well-established competitors that charge much more for the same service.

Funding an ambitious growth plan

The £5m CBILS term loan from BOOST&Co will enable Total Processing to continue to invest in infrastructure, obtain its Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) licence and support further growth. The cash will also be used for recruitment, enabling the business to expand into new territories across Europe and the Middle East.

“We plan to scale the business significantly over the next 12 months, creating more than 30 additional jobs in the UK, during a time of volatility across all sectors,” Lee says.

Having witnessed operations firsthand during BOOST&Co’s due-diligence process, Sorby is confident in the firm’s potential for growth. “We know of businesses that have invited Total Processing to tender and have been very impressed,” he says. “We’ve received very positive  feedback that the company can deliver, so we’re confident that its business model is strong and that the funding will help it to scale significantly, in a short period of time.

“The company has an inherently profitable, disruptive model in a hot sector. This means that value creation is inevitable. It’s brilliant to be able to support the team on this journey,” he says.

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