Why I'd buy Safecharge International Group Ltd over Monitise plc

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Monitise mobile phone

Payments services provider Safecharge(LSE: SCH) has released an upbeat trading statement today. It shows that the company is making good progress with its strategy and is on track to meet full-year guidance. It also provides clues as to why it's a better buy than Monitise(LSE: MONI) at the moment.

Strategy progress

Safecharge's strategy to win tier 1 customers is progressing as planned. In new verticals, it's now processing and acquiring European card transactions for Nayax, which is a solutions provider for the unattended machine industry. This includes vending machines in over 100,000 locations worldwide. In traditional verticals, Safecharge has higher quality revenue after tier 1 client wins such as PaddyPower Betfair and Sun Bingo. This should provide it with greater stability and resilience, while also boosting its growth rate.

In new markets, the company is now operating in Italy, Romania, Portugal and Poland. This increase in geographic diversity reduces the company's risk profile, while also allowing it to access potentially higher rates of growth over the medium term. And with a new office in Singapore as well as expansion within the travel and airlines market, the outlook for the business is very encouraging.

Looking ahead

Safecharge is forecast to record a rise in its earnings of 28% in the current year, followed by further gains of 12% next year. On their own, such strong growth rates have the potential to improve investor sentiment. However, when combined with a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 14.7, it equates to a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 0.7. This indicates that there's a wide margin of safety on offer, which should lead to substantial share price growth in future years.

In addition to growth and value appeal, Safecharge also has excellent income prospects. It yields 5.5% from a dividend that's covered 1.2 times by profit. Alongside its high earnings growth rate, this indicates that there's scope for a brisk rise in dividends.

Relative appeal

The payments services market is relatively broad and highly competitive. One operator within the mobile payments space that has enjoyed success in winning major clients is Monitise. Its mobile banking platform has been popular with customers and consumers alike. And the bad news? The company hasn't been able to turn a successful product into a winning business model.

For example, Monitise remains lossmaking and is forecast to be in the red in the current year. While it has the potential to turn itself around in the years ahead, Safecharge is the company that's performing well now. As such, it offers a much lower risk profile than Monitise, as well as clear catalysts to push its share price higher and a generous, well covered yield. As such, I'd buy Safecharge, but would avoid Monitise.

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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of Monitise. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.