The third largest bus company in France, Isilines, has started accepting bitcoin as part of a six-month test-run. Isilines is the first company in its sector to accept a cryptocurrency.
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Partnership with Paymium
To accept bitcoin payments, Isilines has partnered with a French
startup, Paymium, an online exchange. Paymium offers merchant processing and many other services similar to Coinbase, specializing in compliant trade between bitcoin and euros.
The Paris-based bitcoin outlet matches buyers with sellers on both an over-the-counter exchange and a real-time trading exchange, plus it has other services, including business payment processing and sending bitcoins over email, all in compliance with European payment service regulations.
Isilines began accepting bitcoin through Paymium the digital currency on August 2, both on its website and with traditional credit card payments. According to French fintech news outlet ITespresso, this is a six-month trial, at the end of which Isilines will evaluate the situation. This period of time is chosen to coincide with the end of the free usage of the Paymium service.
Paymium currently offers a free six-month trial for merchants integrating bitcoin payments on their e-commerce websites. Beyond the free trial period, a standard fee of 0.59 percent applies. However, even with the standard fee, the rate is still lower than for traditional credit card payments. “This new service is part of our breakthrough innovation policy,” Richard Dujardin, CEO of Transdev France confirmed in a statement.
“We believe that it takes experience to learn and that is how we respond better to the new uses and expectations of our passengers,” MobiliCites reported.
According to ITespresso’s website:
“Transactions validated in ten minutes with immediate conversion of funds in euros, a way for tourists to avoid exchange fees associated with card payments.”
By adding bitcoin as a payment option, Isilines joined leading players in the travel industry such as Expedia, which started accepting bitcoin over two years ago.
France’s Third Largest Bus Company
Isilines is a unit of Transdev Group, which is 60 percent owned by state holding company Caisse des Depots et Consignations. It is the third largest bus company in France, after the Munich-based FlixBus and Ouibus, a unit of France’s national state-owned railway company, SNCF. According to Isilines spokeswoman Isabelle Pons, the company receives no government subsidies and “hopes to be profitable within one or two years,” Bloomberg reported.
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Images courtesy of Isilines, Transdev, Paymium, autocarsjames.com.