Tribune-de-Genève

Technologies The market for mobile payment terminals is very buoyant, according to BeCash.

A start-up from Coppet launches into the bustling market of mobile payment terminals. BeCash, founded last year and employing four people, intends to “revolutionize” this sector with extraordinarily effective instruments offered at unbeatable prices.

We sell mobile terminals as early as 99 francs allowing merchants to cash in their customers and receive the money right away,” says Malik Khalfi, co-founder of Be-Cash. On competing devices, transactions take up to six days to complete and the merchant must have a state-of-the-art phone.

The ecosystem of cashless payments is upset since the American company Square launched in 2010 in the US a system allowing any small seller to accept electronic emoluments by smartphone.

In Europe, several start-ups have launched similar services, including the Swedish company iZettle or the German SME SumUp. The latter, associated with the UBS bank since last May, has sold nearly 4,000 terminals in Switzerland. Has hairdressers, taxi drivers, even to private individuals.

The Scandinavian model

Every year, around 40,000 companies are founded in Switzerland. “Many have to close for cash flow problems; it is these that we are aiming for,“says Malik Khalfi. The Be-Cash devices are provided by its partner iPay, a Luxembourg company. They are built in China.

The start-up has sold the terminals on its site since the beginning of the year and hopes to sell them in supermarkets by this summer. To boost sales, as with SumUp, a partnership with a major bank is being negotiated.

The market, according to the entrepreneur, is huge and jostled by the arrival of Be-Cash: “For many years, Swiss traders have become used to paying their terminal between 2000 and 3000 francs. They are therefore surprised by the arrival of a solution ten times cheaper. Moreover, we face reactions more or less similar to those of EasyJet when it was launched. Remember their offers at 69 francs, people were surprised, but quickly adopted,” says Malik Khalfi.

Technologies are increasingly encouraging small traders to use these instruments. The fact that in many countries new laws prohibit cash transactions above a certain amount further galvanize demand. In Switzerland, nearly one out of every two deals is with a card, a growing share, which nevertheless remains much lower than in the Scandinavian countries.

In Sweden, the sign “Vi hantar ej kontanter” (“We do not accept cash”) accompanies even vendors of hot wine at Christmas. A good trend for the economy: “Cash costs each country between 0.5 and 1.5% of GDP to print, distribute and protect. An amount that would be better used for other purposes” said Ajay Banga, director of Mastercard in a recent forum.

Competition reacts

This excitement pushed the traditional leaders in the terminal market, the SIX Group and Aduno, to react. The Zurich company launched a similar system, mCashier, in September and the Ticinese company has recently launched its Ingenico Mobile.

They do not communicate on their sales but say that for the moment the market remains much less important than that of conventional non-mobile terminals. They are more expensive to buy, but the commission charged for each transaction is lower, allowing companies of a certain size, such as Coop and Migros, to navigate. (TDG)

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