Just as the COVID-19 lockdowns began to shut much of Europe, on March 11, U.S. Bancorp payments subsidiary Elavon finalized its acquisition of Sage Pay, opening a new chapter for the U.K.-based company. Two days later, employees were sent to work from home amid global efforts to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
What followed, said Sean Wilson, Managing Director, Opayo (formerly Sage Pay), was a focus on three things, “Employee health and safety, supporting our customers and integrating our business with U.S. Bancorp were vital.” That integration included renaming and rebranding the company to separate it from the FTSE-listed Sage Group.
Sage Pay, now named Opayo, is familiar to many U.K. and Irish consumers as a trusted payments provider. With numerous awards for customer service and a five-star rating on Trustpilot, last year its payment gateway processed £40 billion worth of card payments for over 50,000 merchants, including both online and in-store.
Now, the integration into Elavon and U.S. Bancorp gives the company a strong infrastructure for continued growth in Europe. U.S. Bancorp, parent company of the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States and one of the highest-rated banks in the world, expanded into Europe two decades ago when it acquired technology company EuroConnex, ultimately renaming the global merchant acquiring business Elavon.
Today, Elavon has 2,400 employees across six countries and is the fourth-largest merchant acquirer on the continent, processing more than €100 billion worth of payments last year for many of the best-known retailers, restaurants, hotels, and small- and medium-sized businesses in Europe.
Last week, Elavon launched the Opayo brand in a media campaign in major newspapers and broadcasters in the U.K. and Ireland. The theme of the launch, “Together Tomorrow,” focused on how helping small businesses adapt their payments strategy to weather COVID-19.
Elavon had recently commissioned research with Ipsos Mori in the U.K. and Ireland. In this, it found that 68% of UK consumers and 59% of Irish consumers actively seek to pay with cards or contactless payments. That trend has only been accelerated by the pandemic, as in-store has not been an option for many retailers. As a result, Opayo saw an increase of 30% in May and 52% in June in the number of e-commerce inquiries from small businesses.
Among those small businesses has been Lola’s Cupcakes. With its stores shut during the lockdown, the chain of 30 bakeries across England launched an online shop with grocery packages available for delivery. Bars and restaurants have also turned to Opayo for touchless food and beverage orders, payment and delivery.
Of serving customers while integrating companies amid global disruption, Wilson said, “Before the acquisition, we worked closely with Elavon as a trusted referral partner for the past decade and knew many of the employees well. Becoming part of Elavon has been a very positive and smooth journey.”