Twint is picking up speed and is particularly popular with boys

Once ridiculed, now in demand: the Swiss payment solution Twint has come of age and is gaining new users at record speed.

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Things are looking good for the mobile payment solution, which went live in April 2017 and is now offered by 73 banks. As CEO Markus Kilb told Switzerland at the Weekend, Twint will soon have "1.2 million users". And even more remarkable: since December, demand has "exploded with 15,000 new customers per week".

If growth of this magnitude continues, the app could have around 2 million users by the end of the year. To make this possible, the company is not only working on the stability of the system, but is also expanding the number of payment points - even in farm shops Twint is to be accepted as a payment solution, says Kilb.

As the newspaper writes, the app is now particularly popular with young people. Teenagers transfer their lunch costs during their lunch break, parents transfer their children's pocket money (or other allowances) via Twint.

Anyone who has followed the history and development of Twint from the beginning knows that positive news in connection with the Swiss payment solution has been scarce. It was initiated in 2014 in order to be able to offer an effective alternative to the fast-growing foreign competition - especially Apple Pay. Whereas the Swiss banks initially operated in an uncoordinated and multi-track manner, in 2016 they agreed on a joint platform and merged the UBS solution Paymit with Twint: The five largest banks, SIX, and the retailers Coop and Migros, as well as Swisscom, agreed on a joint solution for a Swiss mobile payment system at the end of May 2016.

 

Harsh start

Nevertheless, the launch turned out to be difficult. The launch was delayed, the most important partner Coop complained about a lack of internal communication, users remained sceptical and, even after the launch in spring 2017 (instead of in autumn 2016 as announced), relied more on the mature systems from Apple and Samsung. The fact that Migros in October 2017 announcedMigros' decision to continue to rely on its own app and merely integrate Twint into it did not improve the forecasts for the weakening payment solution. Payment expert Andreas Dietrich described Migros at the time to Handelszeitung as a "critical element" in the spread of Twint. "If the largest retailer does not accept the payment method, that means a big hurdle." According to Dietrich, many consumers will only accept a payment method if it is accepted at all major stores.

Already written off in many places and not infrequently described as a dud, Twint seems to be getting its act together after all. This is shown not only by the latest user figures, but also by the fact that the word "twinten" has even become established in youth and everyday language. In the process, Twint also plays a decisive USP against its foreign competitors: Unlike Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, the Swiss own creation can be operated with normal bank accounts and does not require a credit card. This lowers the barrier to entry, hits a Swiss nerve and strengthens trust - also among an older user group that seems to be increasingly jumping on the mobile payment bandwagon.

On the other hand, the critical voices that see the increasingly popular digital payment solutions as a serious, medium-term threat to cash are not likely to fall silent.

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