January 22, 2015
Migros, a Switzerland-based supermarket chain, is rolling out a mobile payments service. It will not only work across Migros’ own locations but with other stores and with other bank accounts as well. The new mobile payment service will also work with accounts at the retailer-owned Migros Bank, as reported by Schweiz am Sonntag. The retailer has the capability for such an initiative as it runs its own bank. The bank itself has already been given the project of developing a mobile payment system.
There is already a competitor to Migros in the Swiss market. The mobile operator Swisscom already offers NFC based payments through its Tapit service. But the Tapit service has not witnessed a prominent take-up in the market and lacks support from credit card firms. This could prove advantageous for Migros. Swisscom had launched Tapit service back in July last year. It was expected of rival operators such as Orange and Sunrise to launch similar services but these operators have postponed their plans.
Supermarket Coop, another prominent retailer in the market, backs the Tapit service. Earlier, it was expected that Migros will turn out to be a Tapit supporter but the current initiative shows that that is not the case. Other payments initiative in the Swiss market includes local financial institutions working on their own payments service. This would witness the launch of an app dubbed as SwissAlps. The financial institutions are in talks with Apple for a possible cooperation.
The Swiss post office is itself preparing for the launch of a mobile payment system. The mobile payment system dubbed as ‘Twint’ will be based on Bluetooth and the connection would be made via the internet. This system requires separate devices and a stable internet connection which means additional costs for the retailers.
The new mobile payment service by Migros is expected to be launched in the second half of this year. But it seems a lot of disruption is happening in the Swiss payments market. US is already witnessing a waging between Google backed Wallet service, the operator backed Softcard service, the retail association MCX backed CurrentC service and not to be missed, the Apple Pay. In this mobile payment war, Google is already poised to acquire Softcard to reduce competition.
We can’t speculate on the kind of trends that would follow these multiple mobile payment initiative by the different stakeholders. But we can certainly expect that a war might start among the different mobile payment services in near future.