IT remains a business that many don't understand, but Bartercard is proving it is a force to be reckoned with, celebrating 25 years of cashless transactions.
This year the company is celebrating a quarter of a century in business, which has grown to operate the world's largest trade exchange achieving $4.4 billion in cash savings for Australian businesses, equating to 21.9 million currency alternative transactions.
Bartercard Australia CEO Clive van Deventer (pictured) says although Bartercard has expanded into a multi-million dollar industry which stacks up approximately $600 million in transactions each year across eight countries, its vision remains unchanged.
"Barter has evolved and come a long way from the days of swapping a cow for a goat, but the basic principle of assisting small businesses to attract customers, conserve cash and increase profits in almost every industry has stayed the same," he says.
This is despite the business being constantly misunderstood by Australians. Speaking to Business News Australia last year, principal founder Andrew Federowsky says one of the biggest challenges of the business is the lack of understanding of what can be done with a business tool like Bartercard.
Bartercard provides an online marketplace for companies to barter their products and services with other companies.
Van Deventer says the tool has evolved into a viable economic alternative.
"Last year businesses saved over $130 million in cash through the indirect exchange of products and services," he says.
"Today's modern approach to barter steps away from a direct swap and instead uses trade dollars, recognised by the ATO as the equivalent to a dollar, transacted in a closed business network."
There are currently more than 50,000 Bartercard card holders in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States of America, Thailand, Cyprus and UAE and South Africa.
Bartercard transactions can be conducted online, via its mobile app, across more than 7,000 bank EFTPOS terminals and on Bucqi terminals.
Van Deventer says the Bartercard system is about going back to basics.
"Bartercard started in 1991 when Australia was experiencing one of the worst recessions in history and businesses were looking for solutions to cash shortages," he says.
"It was created out of the idea that going back to basics and using a closed group of businesses to conduct cashless transactions would rebuild small to medium-sized businesses in Australia."
Van Deventer adds that despite starting up in adversity, the company found a gap in the market to launch just at the right time.
"Twenty-five years down the track we've grown into a global brand under which thousands of members continue to remedy setbacks for SMEs, including competition from large enterprises, through technology platforms that support their vision," he says.
Bartercard is part of the broader BPS Technology Group (ASX:BPS) which posted a net profit of $7.9 million in FY15. BPS followed it up in the first half of FY16 with a net profit of $3.5 million, up 7.3 per cent from a year earlier.
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