SIX Card Solutions, part of SIX Group and a leading European payment processor, and PayLife, the number one provider of cashless payments in Austria, have announced the completion of Europe's largest migration of merchant-related systems and debit cards.
The project began in April 2008 after PayLife decided to abandon its long-term proprietary processing platform and assigned SIX with the processing of its debit cards, ATMs and POS terminals. Following a gap analysis, SIX and PayLife started a migration project that included extensive customisation to meet the specific requirements of Austrian cashless payments.
SIX's state-of-the-art acquiring and issuing processing platform has been handling all payments made with Austrian Maestro debit cards and transactions conducted at PayLife POS terminals since October 2011. The migration to SIX's Swiss platform has gone unnoticed by the owners of more than 8,2 million Austrian debit cards and merchants using over 65,000 of PayLife's POS terminals. The phased migration spanned three and a half years and a total effort of 180 person years, highlighting the scale of the project.
The aim was to increase PayLife's competitiveness by using a proven pan-European processing platform that fulfils the following criteria:
• Fully compliant with SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area)
• Top performance and stability
• Favourable commercial conditions
• Future-oriented scalable technology
• Multi-country and multi-client capabilities, making the platform suitable for PayLife's other target markets
• Highly efficient and standardised support of operational processes
"An efficient and reasonably priced platform is a decisive factor in today's card business, because the market has become extremely competitive and pressure on profitability increases. At the same time, transaction volumes are growing significantly," says Peter Neubauer, CEO, PayLife. "We are convinced that we are going to continue our success story with our new systems and have found the right partner in SIX to take us into the next phase."
All cash withdrawals and related transactions through the Austrian ATM network (Bankomat), which includes approximately 7,600 cash machines, were already being processed by SIX since March 2011. By the end of May, the migration of the retail and merchant-related systems on the acquiring side had taken place, involving 65,000 PayLife POS terminals and 16,000 'Quick' e-wallet terminals. In the same month, the preparation to migrate the entire portfolio of 8,2 million debit and bank charge cards began, which was executed in several parts and completed by October 2011.
"In addition to our emphasis on technological innovation and performance, customer focus is our core value," says Felix Aeschlimann, CEO, SIX Card Solutions. "One of the main reasons for our success in the completion of the PayLife migration is our project team's unequivocal commitment to the specific requirements of Austrian cashless payments."
Work began by defining the customisation that was necessary to make SIX's systems fully capable to meet PayLife's requirements for the Austrian market. This was followed by the development and implementation of the respective adaptations. Together with the PayLife test centre, the target systems were put to acid test in order to ensure a high quality delivery in full accordance with PayLife's challenging demands. In the course of the project, PayLife also set up a modern in-house printing centre.
Following the successful migration, PayLife can now ensure that its products and offerings will be developed on a forward-looking platform and that growth of its national and international cashless payments business will be fully supported to the benefit of its customers and partners.
Key figures of the migration:
• Total effort 180 person years, 59 of which were at PayLife
• More than 8,2 million Maestro debit and bank cards
• More than 500,000 prepaid cards (Quick e-wallet)
• Migration period: July - October 2011
• More than 65,000 PayLife POS terminals
• 16,000 loading terminals for Quick e-wallet
• Migration period: September 2010 - May 2011
• ATM network approx. 7,600 cash machines
• Migration period: February 2009 - February 2010