Online payments specialist ClickandBuy has produced exceptional
growth, doubling transaction volumes in one year and client numbers
in two. Riding high on buoyant online market conditions and
reputation for robust security, this is the start of bigger things
to come, company executives told EPI.
Doubling transactions volumes in the best of economic times is a
tough objective but it is one London-headquartered ClickandBuy
achieved in 2008 and is aiming to repeat this year, its 10th in the
competitive online payments market.
With a client base of 14,000 merchants and 12 million end-customers
ClickandBuy has in its sights a transaction volume of some €1.8
billion ($2.4 billion) in 2009, a target its CEO Charles Fränkl
believes the company is well positioned to attain.
A key reason for Fränkl’s optimism is the online retail market’s
resilience to economic recession and the growing number of
consumers going online to shop.
“Online commerce is proving highly successful in growing across all
product categories,” Fränkl told EPI.
Underscoring his view, the European Union’s (EU) statistical
service Eurostat reports that 32 percent of consumers aged 16 to 74
in the 27 EU countries ordered goods or services online in 2008, up
from 30 percent in 2007 and 26 percent in 2006.
Also notable is a study by research firm Nielsen Online which found
that in the fourth quarter of 2008 the top 10 UK online retail
websites recorded on average a 37 percent increase in unique
visitors compared with the fourth quarter of 2007.
Within the growing online retail market Fränkl also emphasised that
ClickandBuy’s focus on security provides it with a distinct
competitive advantage. He added that ClickandBuy offers merchants a
complete security and risk management solution covering 46 payments
methods in 30 countries.
This service is particularly valuable to online merchants coping
with challenges presented by expansion into foreign countries, said
Fränkl. For example, implementation of Visa’s Triple Data
Encryption Standard can vary from one country to another.
The significance of a multi-country security solution was
highlighted by a survey of European retailers’ attitudes towards
cross-border sales and consumer protection undertaken by the
European Commission in March 2009. Topping retailers’ concerns and
cited by 63 percent of respondents were potentially higher costs of
fraud and non-payments in cross border sales compared with domestic
ClickandBuy’s focus on security has already served it well. This
was highlighted by a study conducted by German technology industry
association E-Commerce-Center Handel (ECCH) published in
In the study, ECCH assessed increases in spending following online
merchants’ implementation of measures aimed at increasing consumer
confidence in the security of their website. Two of the measures
were the seal of approval by German online shop accreditation
service Trusted Shops and the incorporation of ClickandBuy as a
For purchases averaging €50, ECCH reported a 23 percent increase in
sales for Trusted Shops-approved websites and a 19.2 percent
increase for websites incorporating ClickandBuy. For sales
averaging €200, the increase in sales for Trusted Shops-approved
websites was 104.8 percent and for ClickandBuy-enabled websites
147.8 percent, the highest of any confidence-enhancing measure
ClickandBuy is continuing to enhance its online security standing
and in a significant move in this direction in March 2009 became
the first internet payment service to obtain the security seal from
online security specialist McAfee. The security solution provided
by McAfee involves scanning and securing more than 3,000 possible
“Legally we are required to test our security system every six
months. With McAfee we are now certified daily,” said Nick Drew, a
ClickandBuy executive director.
The McAfee solution follows ClickandBuy’s incorporation of US
geolocation specialist Quova’s GeoDirectory Server fraud detection
and prevention service in March 2008. In essence, Quova’s solution
checks for mismatches between an online customer’s billing address
information and internet protocol address. For example, a customer
logging in from Nigeria when their credit card billing address is
in the US would be flagged as a suspicious transaction.
When assessed by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers,
Quova’s solution was found to be 99.99 percent accurate at the
It is not only ClickandBuy’s security measures that are attracting
“There is a growing reluctance among merchants to move into the
eBay/PayPal ecosystem,” said Fränkl. “Merchants are coming to us
because they view us as independent.”
The online market is also broadening.
“Highly specialised retailers” are entering the market. Products
not available even in big cities are now available online,” he
At present about two thirds of transactions handled by ClickandBuy
are of a high-volume, low-value digital content nature and the
ClickandBuy has held an EU electronic money licence for the past
three years which permits it to take deposits but not to extend
credit to customers. However, changes that will flow from the EU
Payment Services Directive hold considerable potential to spur
change in this respect, noted Drew.
“There is a political will to deregulate the payments business in
the EU,” said Drew. “It is an exciting time to be in the
Among potential new avenues Drew sees opening up for ClickandBuy is
the extension of credit to online shoppers.
“The ability to extend instalment credit will attract new merchants
that have not been online before,” stressed Drew.
The online payments market’s growth potential has also attracted a
number of prominent groups to make strategic investments in
ClickandBuy including Deutsche Telekom which in August 2006
acquired a 10 percent stake and Intel, which in January 2007,
acquired an undisclosed stake via its private equity arm, Intel
At the time of these investments ClickandBuy reported having some
7,000 merchant clients and 7 million end users. Though these totals
have subsequently doubled in size, Fränkl said: “We definitely have
the potential to grow into a much larger organisation.
Fränkl joined ClickandBuy as its CEO in December 2008. He formerly
held the position of CEO of AOL Germany.