The people who guide tourists to the many attractions of Las Vegas will have the option to be rewarded with a prepaid Visa card, replacing a system of using cash and checks to pay commissions.
Commissions2Go (C2Go) has introduced a system that automates payments to concierge services, travel professionals, limousine and car service personnel. "The workers could be anyone in the service industry that is referring someone to a night club, a gentlemen's club, a show on the Strip, etc.," says Andrew DeMaio, the president of C2Go.
The owners or operators of these venues have traditionally made payments in cash or check, which creates tracking, reporting, timing and risk management issues for the payers, DeMaio says. "A check could get left or uncashed," DeMaio says.
After starting in Las Vegas, C2Go plans to introduce the service in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami, Canada and other markets.
To use the system, commissionable agents will register online with C2Go and receive a personalized C2Go prepaid Visa card. The clients then pay commissions to the referral agent's account after the commissions have been validated through C2Go's Web portal or mobile interface using QR codes to identity the recipient. C2Go also manages transaction reporting and 1099 tax forms for entertainment clients.
C2Go uses technology from Wave Crest, a company that develops digital payment systems that serve use cases such as managing disbursements to employees, students and taxpayers via mobile wallets and prepaid cards.
"We operate in areas where the cash flows in an old-fashioned way," says Miles Paschani, group president of Wave Crest. "Automating these payments creates a better process for everybody."
The model is similar to Tipalti, another company that provides mass payment services for clients that use freelance workers; Tipalti manages the payment details and tax forms.
While taxi and car service drivers have been reluctant in some cities to embrace digital payments methods, DeMaio argues the C2Go serviced creates faster access to funds and more transparency.
"The payee will not have to pick up check or cash in order to get paid, and they will have the money right away. And the vendor can use the money once it's loaded onto the card," DeMaio says, as opposed to other processes that send funds on a weekly basis.
C2Go's system may improve visibility for the referral agents and venues, says Gareth Lodge, a senior analyst at Celent's banking group, who adds that may also increase costs.
"On the payer's side, being able to track whose referring customers to them, and having an audit trail of payments would seem good business sense, but will mean changing how they do things, and may see an increase in fees, too," Lodge says. "I suspect the refers will be less excited for the same reason, with an assumption that tips paid in cash only get partially declared."
The convenience of the automated system trumps the card fees, DeMaio contends.
"Yes there are basic fees with the card just like any debit card from a bank," DeMaio says. "The minor fees that are required are a lot less when you factor driving time to pick up checks or cash. And the card holder will be able to track his/her commissions by logging into [our website], and all of that is free."