BY ROB SMENTEKWith the for-hire vehicle (FHV) workforce still composed of independent contractors and 1099 workers, some operators—particularly those with small fleets—have found that their system of paying drivers has become an overly complicated process. MyFare, a digital payment solution that lets operators make real-time, online payments to their driving team, has made a splash in the taxi industry and has now set its sights on luxury ground transportation.
MyFare was launched in 2014 for the taxi industry, when WaveCrest, a global developer of payment platforms, recognized a need to simplify the way drivers were paid. With many major cities mandating that credit card processing machines be placed in the backseats of cabs, there was a major shift away from the traditional cash-based model that was used for generations. Passengers now pay for their rides—and tip—with their Visa, Mastercard, or Amex, and drivers no longer have to “even-up” with the fleet manager after a shift to cover their lease and get paid. However, most FHV fleets hadn’t changed how they paid their hacks; they were still dependent on cutting checks in the office or having them sent in the mail. And with other gigs that pay electronically each week, taxi operators needed to offer an incentive to keep drivers.
To streamline the payment process, WaveCrest developed the MyFare solution. By partnering with the top five cashiering software companies in the taxi industry, the firm was able to work with a fleet’s existing payment software so now an administrator can pay their drivers instantaneously via a MyFare Mastercard account. Once the money is transferred, drivers can then access cash via ATM, transfer their funds to an existing bank account, or use it like a debit or credit card. In short, an operator can look at the computer, see what’s owed a driver, and then send money to their account immediately. “Going from writing checks frequently to being able to automate the process definitely improves operational efficiency,” says WaveCrest’s Vice President of Sales Philip Lugo.
“With many major cities mandating that credit card processing machines be placed in the backseats of cabs, there was a major shift away from the traditional cash-based model...”
While at first glance, MyFare’s model seems to closely mirror the direct deposit option most companies use on payday, Lugo is quick to differentiate the two. “Direct deposit requires all of your employees to have a bank account. Moreover, if someone gives you a wrong account number or changes banks, you’ll have bounced funds and fees associated with that. Plus, with direct deposit, you’re still beholden to banking days and holidays. It’s an archaic model for mass payout distribution.”
According to Lugo, MyFare’s single payout platform not only allows operators to pay their drivers at any frequency, but it’s also set up to quickly resolve problems should they arise, which the company believes makes for a smoother, cleaner, and more flexible solution than direct deposit. MyFare also includes a mobile banking app, online component, and mobile check depositing, which makes it comparable to banking systems that most people in the workforce are accustomed to using. Since its launch, MyFare has been successfully adopted by taxi companies throughout the U.S.; WaveCrest is now expanding into Canada and Latin America, which makes entering the chauffeured ground transportation industry a logical choice. Lugo says that while the system can serve clients of all sizes, small operators are ideal for MyFare, as its simple-to-use portal offers trip tracking, accounting solutions, and payroll. Most importantly, a business can enroll in the program and be approved within 72 hours, with drivers starting to receive money through the system inside of a week. Lugo is looking forward to demonstrating MyFare to the industry on the show floor at the Chauffeur Driven Show in Orlando this October.
“Getting people paid is important,” says Lugo. “MyFare eliminates the hassle of waiting for money. Your driver can complete a job and be paid in real time while he’s on the way home after a drop-off.” [CD0917]