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Singapore company launches mobile payment platform

update Platform allows merchants to turn their smart devices into mobile point-of-sale systems to accept credit or debit card transactions, say company execs.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

update SINGAPORE--Mobile payment platform Swiff, which allows merchants to accept credit card payments on their mobile devices, comes out of beta. Company has plans to expand globally, say company executives.

In a media briefing Thursday, Jerome Cle, CEO of SCCP Payment Services which developed the mobile point-of-sale (POS) platform, said any mobile device can be adapted into a payment platform by plugging in a special credit card reader dongle. Swiff can work on various mobile operating systems such as Apple iOS, Google Android and Research in Motion's BlackBerry. The version for Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 will soon be available, he noted.


Mobile payment platform Swiff

Swiff has been trialed by several merchants in Singapore since June 2011 and about US$500,000 in transactions have been processed to date, he said.

Etienne Van den Bogaert, COO of SCCP, said the service rolls out first in Singapore and Malaysia and will soon be launched in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The company has plans to expand its reach worldwide, he added.

Instead of working directly with merchants, SCCP said it would partner financial services companies such as MasterCard and Visa as well as banks, who would take a "small cut" of the transaction amount.

SCCP hopes to expand its service to more payment service providers, mobile operators and tech partners such as handset manufacturers to incorporate its payments platform. He noted that Samsung will be including Swiff in a tablet targeted at the food and beverage industry.

According to Cle, data sent is encrypted and nothing will be stored on the mobile device. Besides the mobile credit card processing ability, a peer-to-peer fund transfer functionality is in the pipeline and the company hopes to release it within the year, he said.

Different from Paypal
The launch of Swiff comes less than a week after online transactions company PayPal released a similar mobile credit card payments service.

However, Cle pointed out that Swiff differed from PayPal as it partnered banks instead of competing with them for payments services. He was not able to share how much merchants would need to pay to use Swiff as the transaction charges would be determined by the banks. Paypal charges a 2.7 percent fee for each transaction.

Cle expects Swiff to pick up even in developing markets where cash is still king. He explained that as there was less legacy payment processing infrastructure in those countries, it would be much easier for Swiff to take root, he said. He added that the debit card and prepaid card market in developing markets was also growing so banks would be able to adopt Swiff to cash in on the boom.

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