International Currency Exchange





One of the UK’s largest banks wanted to ensure medically vulnerable customers confined to their homes during the pandemic had access to cash to pay for essential items. They needed a new service fast — one that could securely take orders and deliver money directly to their customers’ doors. Enter ICE International Currency Exchange and Paytia.


ICE International Currency Exchange is one of the largest retail currency-exchange companies in the world, managing a transaction every 6 seconds and serving more than 7 million customers a year across 20 countries in four continents.

With their guiding principle “to provide an unparalleled level of customer service, expertise and integrity”, convenience is core to their business. Customers can exchange currencies at one of their 320 branches world-wide, or order remotely online or by phone, and have their money delivered directly to their door.


The Pandemic strikes


While demand for travel-related services came to a pandemic-induced halt in 2020, ICE’s expertise in secure delivery of cash became a lifeline to people across the UK.
Many sick and medically-vulnerable people confined to their homes rely on cash to pay for day-to-day essentials such as shopping, help from carers and other essentials. When one of the country’s largest retail banks wanted to help, they turned to ICE. The bank would transfer customers to ICE to take a debit-card payment and organise shipment of the money to their customers’ homes.

ICE hits a roadblock


Getting the service live as soon as  possible was vital. However, ICE quickly discovered that their existing telephone-payments solution — which involved sending customers a link to a secure web-based payment page — was impossible to use for many of the target customers who were unable to access or use a smartphone or computer. 

ICE had to find an alternative that would still protect customers’ card data, allowing them to submit details using their keypad rather than an online form, and have the payment verified and authorized while still on the call with their agents.

“The solution had to protect our customers but also be easy for them to use. It also had to remove the need for us to jump through the many hoops involved in meeting the stringent requirements imposed by PCI DSS.”
— Paula Griffiths , ICE’s head of regional operations and
project lead.


The clock starts ticking


Having taken payments by phone for many years, ICE recognised that effective customer
protection meant complying with the payment-card industry data security standards (PCI DSS) — something their bank partner was keen to ensure, also.

They knew from experience that the manual approach of ‘locking down’ their agents’ systems and working environment to ensure data security, was no longer tenable. It was expensive, impractical — given their staff would be working from home — and ultimately, flawed: They would still be left with customers having to read aloud their card details to a stranger.

“The solution had to protect our customers but also be easy for them to use. It also had to
remove the need for us to jump through the many hoops involved in meeting the stringent
requirements imposed by PCI DSS,” — Paula Griffiths , ICE’s head of regional operations and project lead.

“To top it all, we had just two weeks to find and deploy a solution that initially would be used by just a handful of agents. There was no time or budget for complex, expensive implementations.”

However, the team’s search drew a blank. Although products were available, they were all prohibitively expensive and involved the kind of complex integration ICE was trying to avoid. As a last resort they asked their payment provider, Elavon, for ideas.


An instant hit


“Our Payment partner, Elavon, recommended Paytia, we didn’t look back!” said Paula. “Here was a solution that finally ticked all our boxes — and met our bank client’s substantial security and compliance controls.” 

ICE was able to start using Paytia Secure Virtual Terminal without having to make changes to their telephony or applications. They configured it themselves to suit how they wished to work — for example, adding screen prompts and scripts for their team to ensure important service terms and conditions were covered. 

Using Paytia Secure Virtual Terminal, the ICE team could take multiple payment types. “We didn’t want to debit customers’ accounts until money had been delivered. Paytia Secure Virtual Terminal gives us the option to take a reserve payment at the time or order.” 

Because the Paytia solution was a PCI DSS Level 1-certified cloud service, ICE was no longer required to implement, monitor and have audited the strict controls required by PCI DSS — saving time, effort and giving staff the freedom to work wherever they wanted. 

Crucially, Paytia proved easy to use for their customers. 

“We’ve found that even the most technically-challenged find it intuitive, once you explain that it is just like using your telephone keypad for making a call,” remarked Sophie Webster, ICE Assistant Manager. “If there are issues, we are tracking submissions on our screen, so we can step in at any time.” 

Paula adds: “It’s been a great success. We’re proud to have been able to help so many people during such a difficult time. We couldn’t have done it without Paytia.” 


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