Quite a lot has been written about PayPoint, the payment services company, but less about its more recent competitor PAYzone. For several years PayPoint was the only option on the market and since it will be limiting its network to around 10,000 retailers by the end of 2001, there is obviously a gap in the market. PAYzone, aiming for the same sort of size network, has been catching up on the range of payments for services that it can handle. These include gas, electricity and water bills, utility service meter top-ups and mobile phone electronic top-ups. The most recent service signed up is allpay.net, the local authority payment specialists. This service (which is also available via PayPoint) allows payment of council tax charges and rents etc at a local convenience store. The company says about two million customers a week use PAYzone for bills and mobile phone top-ups. Many retailers crib about the poor commission paid by these companies but others find that the extra footfall makes it a worthwhile service to offer. Anyone interested in becoming an agent would be advised to ring both companies and make the usual comparisons on commission and capacity. The retailer enquiry line at PayPoint is 08457 600 633 and PAYzone's is 01606 305307 {{GROCER CLUB }}