(In-person payemnts) IPP, company offers revenue source for pharmacies
Bill payment processing. Wireless phones. Airtime coupons. In-home telephone service. Telephone cards. How can a pharmacy offer these products and services to cash-paying customers and make a profit?
Enter In Person Payments (IPP) of America, Wayne, N.J. IPP specializes in electronic payment systems and technology solutions that enable cash-paying consumers to make bill payments and product purchases.
Marvin Morris, president/CEO, IPP, told Drug Topics that in addition to earning commissions without having to incur inventory costs, pharmacies see increased store traffic as a result of offering these products and services. All a pharmacy needs is a computer; IPP provides the training.
IPP has authorized agents in 23 states with large cash-paying populations. "This is typically in inner cities or in heavily ethnic communities and where there is an influx of immigrants. The people tend to want to pay in person, and they typically dont have checking accounts," said Morris.
Commissions for bill payments are 35 to 65 cents per transaction; the customer pays $1 per bill payment transaction. The typical store could average 2,000 to 3,000 bill payment transactions a month, which translates to about $1,500 in monthly commissions. IPP transfers payments to over 850 billing companies, including AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner, and American Express.
IPP outlets sell a variety of services, including no-fee Voicestream cellular telephones and contract-free service. Offering electronic replenishment on demand, IPP vendors enable customers to purchase wireless minutes in the form of airtime coupons in multiple denominations for Voicestream, AT&T, Verizon, and Cingular. Merchants can earn from 10% to 18% of the value of the coupon.
Authorized agents earn $120 to $130 for each phone they sell. Orders are placed electronically through IPP to a distributor.
IPP also offers in-home telephone service on a prepaid basis. There is a $4.50 commission for signing up a consumer for this service.
For pharmacies, IPP provides banners and signs, in both English and Spanish, listing the payments they accept. IPP also issues decals for IPP-authorized agents. English and Spanish brochures are available for distribution to customers.
What new services are in the works? IPP plans to offer additional products to cash-paying customers, including money transfer products, tickets to sporting events, and debit cards.
Recently, IPP enabled cash-paying customers to make donations to the American Red Cross following the Sept. 11 tragedy. Neither IPP nor merchants received commissions for these transactions.
Sandra Levy. IPP good source of revenue for pharmacies.