Electronic payment player Realex to create 25 jobs

20 Feb 2009

The online transaction player Realex Payments – which processes €6bn worth of e-commerce payments per annum – is creating 25 jobs as it expands into new overseas markets, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

Realex, which was established by former Ulster Bank head of central IT Colm Lyon, already employs 60 people in Dublin and brings in revenues of €6m per annum, out of which it generates 10pc margin.

It is understood the company is creating new business and consumer electronic payment products and other financial instruments as paper cheques become phased out across Europe.

The company has more than 2,000 clients and processes almost €6bn a year into over 20 banks or financial institutions across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Clients include some major Irish household names such as Aer Lingus, Tesco Mobile, Aer Arann, Quinn Direct, Superquinn, Direct Ski, Vodafone and property website Daft.ie.

Speaking with siliconrepublic.com, Lyon said that despite the recession, the company is pressing ahead with its expansion plans, and is signing up 100 new customers per month overseas.

Lyon, who now spends three days a week in London, said the company is targeting the UK, Germany and the Netherlands as expansion markets. So far, some 25pc of all new business comes from overseas markets each month.

“In terms of new business opportunities, we have to look beyond Ireland. We’re talking to more and more airlines, for example, about how we can be part of their business process.”

Lyon said Realex is creating 25 jobs as it expands into new business arenas. “We see the death of the cheque coming sooner than you think, and we are building a business electronic payments division and a consumer payments division to replace cheques.”

Contrasting Ireland with countries in Scandinavia – where virtually no cheques are used any more – he said Ireland is still processing 150m cheques each year, creating enormous cost for businesses

“With the creation of the Single European Payments Area (SEPA), which will make it possible to electronically transfer funds to bank accounts within the EU, our objective is to create a cheque-replacement business. This is a major market opportunity for us, we are already processing direct-debit payments for 50 businesses.

“But we also see significant scope for a consumer-payments operation that allows consumers to shop online and pay by debit card.”

The company has plans to be regulated by the Irish Central Bank in order to get a Payment Institution Licence. This will then give Realex scope to create payment instruments.

“We aim to become more innovative and provide services that involve holding funds for customers, both business and consumer. With the demise of the cheque on the horizon, and the continuing credit crunch, people will continue to buy online, and this will be a very good space to play in.”

In terms of the 25 jobs, Lyon said the positions will be mainly business analysts and product managers, who will prove pivotal to Realex’s entry into new overseas markets.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years