Twint and Paymit merge

The five largest Swiss banks Credit Suisse, Postfinance, Raiffeisen, UBS and ZKB, the financial infrastructure service provider SIX, the retailers Coop and Migros and Swisscom have agreed on a joint solution for a Swiss mobile payment system.

It combines the strengths of Paymit and Twint and offers a platform-independent, competitive and customer-friendly solution for all market participants. In addition to the payment function, value-added services are key elements of the joint solution. The merger of the two current systems will take place in the course of autumn 2016. Users and merchants of Paymit and Twint can continue to use the two systems as usual until the migration to the new platform.

Further development and operation will be transferred to a separate company in which the five largest banks and SIX will participate. It will be chaired by Jürg Weber and headed by Thierry Kneissler as CEO.

The nine companies announced open-ended exploratory talks for a joint mobile payment solution at the end of March 2016 (Werbewoche.ch reported). The aim of the talks was to clarify the feasibility of a joint, customer-friendly mobile payment system that could be rapidly disseminated and used throughout Switzerland both in bricks-and-mortar retail and for online purchases and other applications. In May, the talks became more concrete, as reported in the Sunday press (Werbewoche.ch reported).

Strengths of both systems combined

The companies involved have now agreed to operate a joint mobile payment system that combines the advantages of the two previously separately operated systems Paymit and Twint. The new system will operate under the "Twint" brand. There will be a comprehensive re-branding to reflect the joint Swiss mobile payment platform. The joint platform is open to all consumers and merchants - from wholesalers to espresso bars, banks, issuers of payment cards, acquirers and all other domestic and foreign market participants. It can be used across channels at the store checkout, in e-commerce, in apps, at vending machines as well as between people. "We are now working flat out to migrate the two systems and make the joint platform available to all merchants and end customers in the course of autumn 2016," explains Thierry Kneissler, who will head the new company as CEO.

The platform combines the strengths of Paymit and Twint. In addition, as with Paymit, each partner bank can release its own co-branded app, and retailers have Twint's option to integrate their own loyalty cards into the system. "I am glad that our efforts for innovative digital solutions in the financial sector have led to a common whole here, where we have been able to bring together the best of the two worlds," says Lukas Gähwiler, President UBS Switzerland.

Extensive functionalities

Users in particular will benefit from the joint payment solution, according to the statement. They will find broad acceptance in brick-and-mortar retail, be able to shop online and in merchants' applications, pay bills and use vending machines to pay for groceries, parking tickets, ski passes and other goods and services. Transfers among users will also still be possible. In addition, users can choose how they want to settle their mobile payment: the new payment solution accepts both the connection of a bank account and a credit or prepaid card, as well as prepaid top-up. Merchants also benefit from the joint solution: value-added services such as the integration of loyalty cards, stamp cards or promotional discounts (mobile couponing) are available to interested merchants and customers.

"We are very pleased that we now have a solution that is technologically innovative and where we have been able to combine the different functionalities of Paymit and Twint for the benefit of customers," says Alexandre Zeller, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SIX.

Thanks to the common standard, multiple integration of different payment solutions is no longer necessary, thus saving investment costs for merchants. The solution is technologically open to integrate existing and future transmission technologies such as Bluetooth, QR code and NFC. In particular, in addition to twinterminals (beacons), the payment terminals of all providers that are also available can be integrated into the system. This is done with the aim of achieving the fastest and most widespread market penetration possible. Even micro-merchants or service providers can connect to the system without major investment. This will enable us to fulfill the Federal Council's mandate to provide a modern payment traffic infrastructure together with our partners from the Swiss financial center and the retail sector," adds Hansruedi Köng, CEO of Postfinance.

Own company

The operation of the joint solution will be transferred to a separate company called Twint AG, in which the five largest banks and SIX have a stake and which will continue to work with existing strategic partners, including Swisscom for bank integration.

The BoD will be composed of the owners. Jürg Weber, Division CEO Payment Services of SIX, will take over as Chairman. Thierry Kneissler will lead the company as CEO. He currently heads Twint, a subsidiary of Postfinance. "It will now be a matter of quickly translating the common desire for an innovative and competitive mobile payment system into a high-quality service for consumers and retailers through reliable structures and processes," adds Jürg Weber, designated Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The implementation of the joint mobile payment solution is still subject to the approval of the relevant competition authorities. Subject to these decisions, a joint solution should be ready for use in the course of autumn 2016. Until then, users of Paymit and Twint can continue to use the services and functions of their provider. Existing contracts will be transferred depending on the solution.

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