Yorkshire is more than just a region, with the name becoming a brand in recent years, according to the founder of a card payments business.
James Howard launched Direct Card Solutions (DCS) in 2012 but the business really took off when it adopted the name Yorkshire Payments.
Speaking to the Halifax Courier, Mr Howard said: “People who live here and are from here are proud of Yorkshire. It’s a brand now. It’s not just a geographical region anymore.”
He pointed to the recent success of the Tour de Yorkshire and the popularity of Yorkshire Tea as examples of the power of the Yorkshire brand. Mr Howard added: “It speaks volumes. It’s straight talking, it’s no nonsense and that’s exactly the strategy that we wanted to employ.”
The majority of Yorkshire Payments’ clients are from the region although it does have customers as far afield as Boston, Massachusetts.
Mr Howard said: “It’s easier for us to service because our engineers are based in Yorkshire and our support centre is based here in Yorkshire but we do take enquiries from businesses based outside the region.
“We even have two clients in Boston in the US. They use Yorkshire Payments believe it or not.”
Yorkshire Payments can’t physically send engineers to Boston but the firm does provide technical support from the region. “The systems are available 24 hours a day for them to utilize,” Mr Howard said. “In terms of billing or technical enquiries then they have to adapt to Yorkshire timezone.”
In the early days of the business, Mr Howard admits to struggling to find a way of distinguishing itself from the established players when it came to marketing.
He said: “For the first couple of years, when we traded as DCS, we didn’t particularly differentiate ourselves from a marketing point or branding.”
Brighouse-based Yorkshire Payments has doubled growth every year and is on track to turnover £1.67m this year and processes £33m in monthly transactions. The next stage for Mr Howard is to roll out franchises of Yorkshire Payments in other regions across the country. The firm launched its first franchise on the South Coast under the name of South Coast Payments.
“What we’re trying to do in all these areas is to create a local brand in that particular area,” says Mr Howard.
Currently, the Brighouse-based company employs 29 people but the founder of the business is expecting to employ 50 staff by the summer of 2018.
Payment methods are constantly evolving with technology playing an increasing role in the development of the industry. Mr Howard believes that fingerprint technology and retina scanning could be the next big step in the evolution of payment methods.
He said: “I genuinely think we’re going to go down the route of fingerprint technology. In my eyes that’s not a bad thing. If you card or wallet is stolen it doesn’t really matter does it? The idea is to reduce card fraud in the future.”
Yorkshire Payments is currently talking to suppliers about adopting fingerprint technology. The firm is confident that people will accept fingerprint technology playing a role in payments.
Mr Howard cites contactless payments as an example of how people are willing to adopt new ways of making payments.