Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Swiss banks, retailers explore joint mobile payments platform

In the United States, mobile payments and mobile banking is ever growing and popular with those who own smartphones. Official applications from Bank of America and Chase for example allows you to manage your bank accounts and deposit checks instantly. With mobile payment services such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay, consumers that have smartphones with Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities to pay retailers with their credit cards on their phones instead of swiping their plastic credit cards. It takes one tap against the NFC sensor, and the bill is payed for. These two mobile trends are brilliant ideas, and the five biggest banks in Switzerland wants more than just an application.
According to Reuters, Switzerland banks UBS, Credit Suisse, PostFinance, Raiffeisen, and ZBK have been in talks with top retailers Coop, Migros, and Swisscom about a “joint mobile payments platform for the country.” In talks with these retailers and a financial infrastructure group called SIX, the goal is for a digital payment system that works for consumers that belong to these banks, and in a sense are trying to create a new standard of paying in the country. Instead of separate pay systems like Apple Pay and Android Pay, it would one universal pay system regardless of whichever device you have.
The report also says that PostFinance and SIX have their own payment systems, but I like the idea of a mobile payment system that can be used with any mobile device. All I would have to do is to access my bank account and connect it to the pay system. Also, if I decide to switch devices and/or banks, there would less hassle to switch over and use the system right away. This will also make it easier for banks and retailers to track your spending in order to provide the most accurate bank statements and for retailers to give out smarter discounts to customers.
This kind of universal system would make data collecting easier for banks and retailers, and while the list of partner banks and retailers of Switzerland will grow, what about the consumers that are not affiliated with these banks and/or do not possess a mobile device able to make digital payments? Even in America, there are plenty of people without a smartphone that cannot use a mobile payment system. If Switzerland were to make mobile payments a new standard, how will they be able to convince those without mobile payment access to obtain this access? Another worry might be if the system ever goes down and people are unable to pay due to not having another form of payment.

This is a great idea that will be tested over the next couple of months, but do not expect a sudden change anytime soon.

1 comment:

  1. Switching to a more electronic payment system comes with its ups and downs. For poorer people without smartphones it is a major disadvantage, but the rise of mobile banking, paypal, venmo ect, electronic forms of currency is looking more and more like a thing of the future. There are a lot of added benefits to making payments electronically that were not mentioned in the original article. Cash can be harder to trace, but electronic payments would be recorded. Criminal organizations would have a harder time laundering money and making payments if we switched completely to an electronic currency system. Also, people wouldn’t have to worry about loosing cash, having their obsolete wallets stolen, and the government would save on printing money. I do not see this happening relatively soon because not everyone has access to smartphones and the internet, but with how fast the technology is spreading I would not be surprised if a complete switch to electronic currency happens in my lifetime. I like what the Swiss banks are doing because I view it as monetary progress. If a switch were to occure, banks would have to be the first people on board and why wouldn’t they be? The hardest part of their job is having the right amount of cash on hand and keeping it safe. Electronic currency would make everyone’s lives easier.


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