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While COVID-19 pushed many businesses and customers towards e-commerce and online banking, a Kanata North company is helping those who still want to pay their bills, cash their cheques or shop in-person do so in a safe and efficient way. 

Payment Source, which opened its doors in 2014, is an alternative payment solutions company that uses digital QR codes and prepaid cards to enable individuals to complete their transactions both online and in person. 

By offering customers the opportunity to pay bills, cash government issued cheques or load a prepaid credit card at a retail store or post office instead of at the bank, the company is tapping into a broader customer base. 

With some consumers reluctant to upload sensitive financial information online and others – particularly those in remote and rural communities – lacking access to in-person banking services, Payment Source’s solution provides customers an alternative way to manage their money, says Trevor Cook, the company’s co-founder and CEO. 

“For us, it’s about offering choice,” he says. “We cannot leave behind people who don’t understand a cashless society or who can’t be a part of it because of geography, income level or fear. So, we’ve built out an ecosystem that meets those needs.”

Reaching new communities

With its network of 15,000 retail partners across Canada, including stores such as Canada Post, Canadian Tire Gas, PharmaChoice and many independent businesses, Payment Source customers can manage their funds no matter their location.  

Users can visit a Payment Source retailer and load a prepaid Visa or Mastercard or digital wallet using cash or debit. The loading is managed through a QR code printed on the card or displayed in the wallet app, which secures the users financial information. 

Once their account is loaded, customers have immediate access to their funds and can purchase items in person or online.

Using Payment Source’s QR code system, customers also have the ability to cash government cheques at the post office and deposit the funds onto their card or e-wallet, which is a far more convenient service for some areas, says Cook.

The transaction is highly secure, with employees never needing to handle any cash. 

“In a remote community, you could have some people receiving social assistance, but without a bank, how would they cash that cheque?” Cook says. “With our system, the post office can load that money onto your card, and you’re able to buy the things that you need right away.” 

Government partnership

The company – now sitting around 75 employees – recently caught the interest of the Canada Revenue Agency, which saw an opportunity to use the Payment Source system to enable Canadians to manage their taxes outside of the bank. 

All CRA remittance forms now feature a Payment Source QR code which can be scanned and paid at one of 6,000 participating Canada Post locations in the country. 

“This new system is driving tens of thousands of transactions a year through the post office, which is pretty substantial,” says Cook, adding that the company sees close to $120 million worth of payments on its system a year. 

The business has also expanded its online bill payment service through its PaySimply website, which saw a huge use increase during COVID-19. While credit card and e-wallet top-ups in store dropped by around 50 per cent, the number of customers using the payment service grew to a level that the company didn’t expect to realize for another year.

While the retail side of the business continues to rebuild, the company is in a stable place, and is ready to continue to grow its business, says Cook, hinting at potential future acquisitions.

“It’s not visible to the regular consumer, but the payment systems in Canada are evolving quickly, and we’re absolutely going to be a part of that,” he says. “In our minds, we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do.”

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