Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Interview: Singapore’s Swiff founder talks mobile payments

Anushkar Mohinani | May 21, 2012
Etienne Van den Bogaert, CTO of SCCP Payment Services, talks about mobile payments in the Asia Pacific and Swiff’s business model.

Etienne Van den Bogaert, chief technology officer of SCCP Payment Services and one of the founders of Swiff, a homegrown mobile payment platform, talks about trends and challenges of mobile payments in the Asia Pacific as well as Swiff’s business model.

What trends are you seeing in the mobile payments market in the region?

Mobile payments in the Asia Pacific are on the rise, and we are seeing varying rates of uptake within the region. Japan and South Korea are widely acknowledged as global leaders in the adoption of digital technologies, and this includes mobile payments adoption. In countries such as Taiwan and Hong Kong where mobile penetration is high, we see a stable rising trend in mobile payments and this is the same in the developing giant markets like China, India and Indonesia.  

According to a recent VRL report, the value of Asian non-cash transactions will reach over US$300 trillion by 2020, a significant uplift on the US$91 trillion recorded in 2010, representing an average annual growth rate of 1.3 percent. Although this annual growth rate appears low, it will still allow the Asia-Pacific region to capture the world's largest amount of cashless transactions by 2020.

Economic development plays a crucial role. The mobile payments opportunity in developed economies is very different from developing markets, because of the extent to which money is electronic. In emerging economies, mobile payments will accelerate the pace, scale and reach of commerce by enabling electronic transactions and displacing cash. In developed economies, mobile payments will transform the chain of commerce beyond payments, to reach a level of convenience and cost-saving on par with today’s alternatives.

Mobile payments open up great opportunities for ‘unbanked’ small businesses, and we anticipate that it will help accelerate development in the vast rural areas of places such as India. 

What are the key challenges for mobile payments adoption in the region?

The development of mobile payments in the region is challenged by the interoperability of competing technologies, reliability and security of transactions. Lack of interoperability may result in a fragmented market and cause a stumbling block to network economies of scale. Lack of security will result in hesitation among consumers to adopt mobile payments on a large scale.

However, as mobile payments technologies progress, regulatory and industrial bodies will likely introduce policies and restrictions that will help to address such challenges.

How can security concerns associated with mobile payments be managed?

Security issues can be eradicated with measures that can be implemented in mobile payments solutions. Authentication is key to mobile payments security. With proper authentication functions, merchants, banks and consumers can ensure full traceability and deter fraud.

For example, Swiff has an extremely high level of security which ensures that merchants, banks and customers can transact safely and securely.

Currently, Swiff is the only mobile payments platform that provides merchants and customers the ability to track individual devices and location of payments. Swiff is also the only one that provides multi-factor authentication to ensure transactions are highly secured, authenticated and compliant with payment industry standards.

How else do you differentiate Swiff from rival services such as PayPal Here and Square?


1  2  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.