Ingogo takes on Cabcharge in hardware arena

Not content to circumvent Cabcharge's payment with apps, ingogo is now rolling its own hardware out to taxi drivers as an alternative to the incumbent's systems.

There are several mobile hail-a-taxi services in Australia, including Uber and goCatch, but rather than repeat the current model, ingogo has taken a different tact to the mobile payments market.

Each of the disruptors to the taxi industry have taken issue with the incumbent, Cabcharge, and sought to address fare payments in a different way. Uber and goCatch allow passengers to tie credit cards to their account, circumventing Cabcharge's systems and reducing overall fees.

However, ingogo is now competing against Cabcharge in its own domain by introducing new wireless terminals that drivers can install and use instead of Cabcharge's hardware.

The company's founder Hamish Petrie said it replicates the Cabcharge system, which he says costs an estimated AU$10,000, at a fraction of the cost.

Drivers also receive a 5 to 6 percent share when using ingogo's systems rather than Cabcharge's to accept fares, while ingogo says that other systems actually charge drivers to receive work.

Passengers will continue to receive ingogo's existing reduction in fees if they book via the mobile app by about 5 percent of the fare.

The new payment system works with EFTPOS chips and pins, and magstripe cards, but, according to Petrie, the real benefit to drivers and passengers is in contactless payments, which it also supports.

Petrie said that this technology is critically important to a driver who could be subject to fines if they remain at the kerb for too long.

"He needs to be able to process a transaction really, really quickly, and what we're finding with these devices is a contactless payment is a really rapid transaction, and it's perfectly suited to the taxi environment."

"Drivers are demanding this, passengers are demanding it, and it's an essential part of a solution. Without it, if you're a payments business, you're at risk."

More of ingogo's devices are expected to roll out over the next 12 months after its pilot, in which 250 drivers processed over AU$1 million in 30 days.