Square-like service Swiff makes foray into Thailand by partnering with Bank of Ayudhya
October 1, 2012 by Terence LEE
Swiff, a service that enables merchants to collect credit card payments using smartphones, has made a major step towards entering the Thai market.
SCCP Group, the startup behind Swiff, announced on 27th September that it has partnered with Bank of Ayudhya, a leading commercial bank in Thailand, to provide its customers with a low-cost mobile POS system.
With Swiff, merchants can potentially save cost by opting for a POS system that involves just a mobile app, mobile devices, and credit card swipers attached to the tablets or smartphones. There is no need to purchase a traditional POS system.
Launched in March 2012, Swiff has since been implemented by over 100 merchants in Singapore through its partnership with Global Payments, a subsidiary of HSBC Bank. The startup hopes to reach out to various industries, including F&B, telecommunications, logistics, and hospitality.
In June, it acquired a majority stake in 4G Secure SAS, an European firm that specializes in an authentication platform for mobile apps. Its technology will be used to make Swiff more secure.
Thailand is perceived as a challenging market due to its low credit card adoption rate. Only about 6 million Thais own a credit card as of 2008, less than 10% of its 69-million population.
But helping Swiff is the fact that the bulk of credit card users would be located in urban areas like Bangkok, while low adoption rates signal rangy growth potential. Also, tourism is a lucrative revenue source for Thai establishments, and Swiff could ride on that as well.
Beyond Asia, the startup aims to expand worldwide to Africa, America, and the European Union.
In Asia, it faces competition from PayPal Here. In the United States, Square is the dominant player, while PayLeven, Verifone, iZettle, SumUp and mPowa are fighting for market share in Europe. Amazon is reportedly jumping into the fray too.
Swiff has a lot in common with these other players. But it touts its direct working relationship with banks rather than merchants as a major differentiation.
In this manner, it draws a line in the sand against PayPal, which is a payment aggregator that renders banks redundant, since merchants do not need a bank account to use PayPal.
But does interfacing with the bank as opposed to Swiff really make a big difference to merchants? Probably not. Nonetheless, Swiff could make a big difference to banks, which can now offer their customers a mobile POS solution as a value-added service.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE