Charlotte Farr’s mobile vet business is going places – literally. The big challenge was finding a reliable way to take and process payments across the South Yorkshire countryside. Worldpay from FIS provided the answer.
Five years ago, Charlotte Farr was looking for a way to achieve a better balance between her work and family life. Knowing it’s often best to treat animals in their own environments, she came up with the idea of a mobile vet service that would visit pets in their homes. Charlotte kitted out a van with a refrigerator for medicines, an examination area and other essential features, and The Travelling Vet was born.
It was an instant success. “People find it much easier to have a vet visit them than it is to wrangle their cat into a basket, and it’s less stressful for the animals, too,” she says. COVID-19 delivered a further surge in demand because Charlotte doesn’t even have to go into people’s houses when she visits: Her clients can bring their cat or dog out to the van to be examined there.
Her brilliant idea has grown, and there are now 11 people, three vans and one car involved in The Travelling Vet.
Taking payments on the move
“We need to be able to take card payments wherever we happen to be.”
“Everyone wants to pay by card these days, so we need to be able to take card payments wherever we happen to be,” says Charlotte. Worldpay from FIS supplied her with five Move 5000 terminals, one for each van and car, plus a spare. “Each van needs its own terminal; sharing just isn’t a practical option for us,” she explains. She finds the terminals small, light and quick to charge. “They also hold their charge well, so we don’t need to cart chargers around with us,” she notes.The terminals accept payments via Visa and Mastercard, plus other cards such as China Union Pay, Diners Club International and Discover. Contactless is built in, so for transactions under the current £45 limit, people can pay by tapping their card or waving their phone to use Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. “This is really important in the age of COVID-19. People prefer to avoid contact in any way they can,” she says.
'The terminals were really easy to set up. There was little more to it than opening the box and getting them out. No training needed.”
Finding phone signals in rural Yorkshire
“The terminals connect to all three major phone networks.”
Geography presents its own challenges to taking payments in the countryside between Sheffield, Rotherham and Chesterfield. “Phone signals can be elusive round here,” explains Charlotte.
Mobile terminals use 3G phone signals to connect with the payment gateway. With Charlotte’s previous payments provider, this turned out to be a problem because the terminals piggy-backed their own mobile phones to make the connection, using the network of whichever provider’s SIM card was installed.
“The MOVE 5000 terminals connect to all three major phone networks – EE, O2, Vodafone – and I think we’ve only had one occasion when we couldn’t find any signal at all,” says Charlotte. “Thankfully, the terminals also connect to Wi-Fi, so there’s always a Plan B.”
It’s also important that the terminals issue paper receipts, particularly for older customers. Charlotte says tearing off the receipt and handing it over gives them confidence that the transaction has gone through correctly.
Simple and economical
“The Worldpay solution works out cheaper than our previous, lower-tech arrangement.”
Charlotte says the whole process was straightforward. “The terminals were really easy to set up. There was little more to it than opening the box and getting them out – no training needed. And if I can use them, anyone can!”
And it didn’t break the bank. Quite the opposite, according to Charlotte: “The surprising thing is that the Worldpay solution works out to be cheaper than our previous, lower-tech arrangement. That was an unexpected bonus.”
Into the future
Charlotte is looking forward to Worldpay from FIS handling The Travelling Vet’s evolving payment processing requirements. The next stage is taking on web-based payments. “When life returns to something more like normal, we want to introduce an online booking system on our website so that people can both book and pay for their appointment online. Worldpay has already set it up for us, so we’ll be ready to go when the time is right for us to proceed,” she says.
Worldpay Mobile Card Terminals
- Accept payments anywhere with WiFi and 3G network coverage
- Easy and quick setup
- Latest touchscreen technology makes it easy to use
Our special thanks to Charlotte Farr from The Travelling Vet.