Monday, May 21, 2007

Pay By Touch Capturing Resources

Little-known local firm quietly finds success

MILLVILLE -- A data processing firm tucked away in a quiet corner of Millville Airport hosted a rare on-the-road meeting of the city's Industrial Commission last week.

Pay By Touch this year hits its five-year anniversary as a small but solid success story for local efforts to attract businesses to Millville.

"What I've seen in the last five years, driving from Vineland to Millville, is amazing," General Manager Marie Gittone told commission members last Monday. "Every time I drive down High Street, I see more companies arriving."
It previously was known as Capture Resource Inc., a privately owned firm based in Bristol, Pa., when it arrived in fall 2002 at the Millville Airport Industrial Park. Capture Resource took over a building at 1600 Malone St., previously leased to Prudential Financial.

Pay By Touch is actually what the operation has been known as only since December 2005.

Its business centered on high-volume mail processing, for clients such as grocery stores and financial institutions, document scanning and data capture. A major part of its business was, and is, collecting personal information for scannable "loyalty cards" that groceries and other retailers issue to customers.

The Millville facility was to serve as a second location and a backup to its Bristol base. Millville was picked over alternates in Hazleton, Pa., and Hagerstown, Md.

Its parent corporation since a 2005 buyout is Pay By Touch, a privately owned firm based in San Francisco.

Pay By Touch is a leader in the industry of collecting and applying human biometrics, including fingerprints, electronically to enable faster, easier and more secure bill payments.

For instance, three years ago it introduced a system to allow grocery shoppers to scan a fingerprint at a cashier's station to get product discounts rather than having to use a plastic "loyalty card."

Vice President Jeff Grider said Pay By Touch owns 60 patents dealing with different types of biometrics for processing payment and documents.

"There's no other U.S. company you will ever see that will use biometrics for payment and age authentication," he said.

Vice President Gary Smith said the decision to locate here came down to the responsiveness of Donald Ayres, the city's economic development director, and Christy DiLeonardo of the Cumberland County Employment Office. Smith said the supply of former Prudential employees was an important bonus because of his company's need for skilled clerical workers. The county screened the first batch of 15 to 20 workers for Capture Resource, a role it continues to play.

Grider said the business now has 60 employees and two shifts.

Pay By Touch handles about 50 of the country's largest grocery chains and earlier this month landed the nation's largest supermarket chain, he said.

He declined to identify the chain, except to say that it operates about 2,400 stores.

Editors Note: Kroger operates 2481 stores and WAS the nation's largest grocery retailer for years until Wal*Mart knocked them out of the number 1 spot this year. (by $4 billion dollars)

"Business is good and business is growing," Grider said.