Fast food transactions are even faster with first of its kind AutoSwitch system

A new AutoSwitch card payment system, by Standard Bank and its partner African Resonance, is set to reduce operating costs, speed up transactions and provide merchants with a full transactional reconciliation facility that is integrated with till points.

The AutoSwitch system has proved to be successful after going live as part of a pilot project undertaken in KFC restaurants owned by YUM! Restaurants International.

“The system was first introduced at a KFC store in August last year, and has since been successfully rolled out in all 76 company owned restaurants across the country,” says Simone Cooper, Head of Franchising and Enterprise Development at Standard Bank.

“Generally, when a card transaction is processed the operator is required to enter the sales amount into the point-of-sale (POS) device after capturing it on the till.  Alternatively, an integrated till pin pad is used where the till passes the payment amount to the pin pad for PIN validation. Following this, the till connects to a payment switch, which in turn passes the transaction to the acquiring bank,” says Ms Cooper.

“Standard Bank’s AutoSwitch solution, the first of its kind in South Africa, simplifies the transaction cycle and meets the needs of single and multi-lane environments that are typical in fast food restaurants like KFC. In addition, it reduces transaction times for operators by more than 10 seconds, improving productivity efficiency and speed of service” says Ms Cooper.

“AutoSwitch differentiates itself from other systems by processing only payment transactions. It is not used to process additional complex transactions typically required in larger retail stores.  An example of this is where additional functionality such as loading loyalty points or rewards is facilitated at the POS, which requires intermediary switching and routing to take place.

Acknowledgement of the sale occurs only on the till, and not on both the POS terminal and till, as is the case with non-integrated systems.

Other benefits include the elimination of transposition errors by the operators, effective reduction of risk, and a reconciliation process that is vastly simplified. “AutoSwitch also substantially reduces the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) requirements for organisations that handle cardholder information,” says Andrew Wilmot, Head: Card Acquiring at Standard Bank.

“The choice of Yum! Brands as a partner in the AutoSwitch pilot project was natural,” says Ms Cooper.

“Yum! Brands has a long-standing business relationship with Standard Bank, as do many of the KFC franchisees. AutoSwitch was seen as a logical choice when it came to the company looking for alternate switching solutions to improve operational performance and enhance customer experience.”
Joseph Call, Chief Finance Officer, KFC Africa, says that the functionality of AutoSwitch and its simplicity met the requirements of KFC restaurants and there was minimal training required for the changeover.

“AutoSwitch is capable of delivering a service in a robust industry where constant handling of POS terminals is the norm. The platform is stable and reliable.”

“A significant benefit is that Standard Bank is both the acquirer and vendor on this system, providing us with a single point of contact when assistance is needed,” says Mr Call.

“AutoSwitch will be extended to KFC franchisees, many of whom own multiple restaurants,” says Ms Cooper”.

The introduction of AutoSwitch reflects Standard Bank’s commitment to deliver solutions that meet customer needs and provide cost-effective, added value to defined tasks required by customers. It simplifies processes, making day-to-day operations easier for fast food service restaurants, whilst increasing convenience and efficiency for customers.

“We believe that AutoSwitch will be well received by the entire quick service restaurant sector, where it will set a new standard for the industry,” says Ms Cooper.

Press release by Magna-Carta.

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