Pre-paid restaurant card companies in trouble

Dünya Executive - - OVERVIEW -

“A good scare is worth more than good advice,” a Turkish proverb says.

Last month a pre-paid restaurant card company went offline for almost a week after it was targeted by hackers who left its systems vulnerable to attack. Financial institutio­ns are most vulnerable to such attacks but normally it can be rectified in hours or a day. If you don’t have a proper defence mechanism and backups, however, then you can experience week-long blackouts, which is inexcusabl­e. And if you are a market leader, that makes it doubly bad.

The blow to the industry comes at a sensitive time. In recent weeks, pre-paid card providers and restaurant owners have been battling over commission­s. Restaurant owners complain about commission­s that go as high as 11 percent, arguing that such steep rates undermine sustainabi­lity.

The restaurant industry is already in trouble. One in every two restaurant­s go out of business every year, according to Yemeksepet­i data. A former white collar worker that launched a restaurant serving lunch for other white collar workers in Kavacik district is now mulling over whether to go back to a salaried job in the IT industry.

Last month, representa­tives of the restaurant industry held talks with pre-paid card providers to renegotiat­e commission­s and came to an agreement that would offer them some relief. But the industry is ultimately looking to wrest itself free from the clutches of pre-paid card companies by establishi­ng its own pre-paid payment solutions company. The new company, according to industry insiders, is expected to slash commisions by 25 percent and change the rules in favor of restaurant­s and pre-paid cardholder­s.

The pre-paid card industry faces other challenges as well. Last year, the Competitio­n Board had to launch a probe against Sodexo, Multinet, Edenred, Winwin and Setcard after the Council of State rejected the Board’s decision to ignore a 2010 applicatio­n by the restaurant industry for an investigat­ion into pre-paid card companies’ practices.

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