With payments software from Alaric, new business TradePro has launched a revolutionary scheme offering a dedicated business account and tradecard aimed at professional tradesmen. TradePro's initiative is believed to be the UK's first nationwide service based on Chip-and-PIN technology to go live. Alaric delivered the underlying message transformation and routing solution under budget and within just six weeks.
TradePro has been created to provide smaller builders and contractors with a level of professional financial services and support that has until now be unavailable to them. The majority of smaller tradesmen cannot access the credit sources available to larger companies, and as a result tend to rely on merchant-based trade accounts. TradePro overcomes these obstacles by providing a tradecard and associated line of credit that can be used expressly for the purchase of building materials in hundreds of different merchants nationwide. Tradesmen are also sent detailed statements to facilitate their administration.
The scheme hinges on new chip-and-PIN technology that protects builder and merchant against fraud by validating each transaction through the entry of a PIN number - a much more reliable security measure than the traditional signature. TradePro will supply all participating merchants with specially designed terminals to read these new cards.
As well as being convenient for builders and their customers, TradePro aims to improve competitiveness within the construction industry by allowing builders to shop around for the best deal. For the merchant, the TradePro card removes bad debt risk, guarantees timely payments and takes away the headache of credit vetting, managing and collecting debt. TradePro also provides merchants with all the technology, training and support they need to get going, free of charge.
Alaric's software gateway plays a central role in TradePro's technology infrastructure, transforming messages received from the terminals in industry-standard (APACS) format into the information that TradePro's bespoke in-house systems need. The Alaric software also handles the routing of messages, protecting TradePro from dropped lines and data corruption.
Conventional transformation software would typically take around six months to implement, but Alaric was able to deliver a working solution within just six weeks, thanks to its flexible message transformation and authorisation system, Authentic. This product, written in the Java programming language using object oriented techniques, enables message transformation to be defined through a simple point-and-click configuration process, without the need for coding.
David Bloom, CEO of TradePro, comments: "Alaric was the only supplier we found who was prepared to commit to our extremely demanding timetable. It was not only Alaric's technology that impressed; the authors of the software were on hand, and prepared to sit here until all the elements of our solution were working together."
Alaric collaborated with other solution providers including Verifone who supplied the terminals and BT, whose Cardway service constitutes the message transmission infrastructure.