Verifone, a global leader in payment technology, identified the London taxi trade as one of the last strongholds of the cash transaction.

Having acquired Taxi Media and repositioned it under the Verifone brand in 2010, nCompass were engaged to develop a trade marketing programme to help recruit fleets and drivers for the Verifone card payment solution.

Retained by Verifone for over seven years now, a multi-layered communications programme was developed, encouraging drivers to embrace new payment technologies voluntarily, whilst also lobbying TfL to make card acceptance in taxis mandatory.

The initial burst aimed to grow the payment-enabled fleet in readiness for the 2012 London Olympics, and to maintain momentum thereafter. By the time the Games opened, Verifone PIN pads were in 15% of the 23,500 London taxi fleet.

By 2016 that figure had risen to around 6,500 (28%), and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, agreed to mandate acceptance of electronic fare payment as part of his overhaul of the transport infrastructure. The TfL mandate was announced in 2016. At the last count, there were over 8,000 Verifone taxis in London alone, with another 10,000+ Verifone vehicles around the UK.

The communications required to inform, persuade and motivate the taxi trade included a complex blend of PR, trade advertising, incentives, sponsorship, short films, live events, field marketing, direct marketing, CRM and referral schemes. Complicated by the fact that each driver is a stand-alone business, this was a communications challenge that required a sensitive touch, but also relied on a confident and bold profile within the trade.

Running alongside the trade communications, an educational and lobbying programme was designed to encourage policy makers, politicians and trade organisations to mandate card payments within the taxi trade. In February 2016, Mayor Johnson’s announcement signified a successful conclusion to the mission, and the beginning of a new challenge to capitalise on the opportunities presented by this change in the law.