Originating from Sweden, the SEQR mobile wallet partners with Limonetik to speed up the roll-out process in Europe. The two also share the same view of the future of payment : cross channel, but also cross platform and technology agnostic.
We interviewed Marcel Roelants, Regional Director, SEQR Benelux
MeetthePayments: How digital wallets are reshaping the payment industry?
M.R: It all comes down to consumer’s choice. There’s a growing expectation amongst consumers to use the payment method of their choice both at the corner store and on their preferred web site. As the choice of payment methods gets wider, this puts even more pressure on merchants. Consumers are even less willing to accept being limited to some payment methods at the store, and some others when shopping online. They want to be free of technology limitations. They want a seamless shopping experience.
MtP: Isn’t it what major credit cards are supposed to provide?
M.R: Again, you have to see it from a consumer perspective. Entering your card details in the check out online is time-consuming. Another reason why mobile wallets gain even more consumer attention is that they provide additional benefits. To drive consumers to pay using a mobile application, you have to provide something back, such as coupons or offers. Never forget that new digital payment methods are also marketing tools aimed at driving customer loyalty. All these methods are facing the same challenge: going mainstream both instore and online, but at no additional cost for the merchant. In the real world however, the more layers you add to the payment stack, the more it costs to process the transaction. The first challenge merchants are facing is to keep transaction costs as low as possible, while enabling new payment methods. The only way to achieve this is to shorten the payment-processing stack, which is exactly what SEQR does.
MtP: Does that mean taking credit cards providers out of the loop?
M.R: Yes, from the early days of electronic payment, credit cards acted as a middleware between banks and merchants. A single payment process used to fit all needs. Now the situation is quite different. Each new payment method comes to the market with a specific legacy, whether it’s technology choices, hardware constraints or existing customer base. The main challenge merchants are facing today is to make a choice, without knowing which technology or vendor may prevail in the future. Think about the ongoing debate between NFC and QR code technologies. Who can tell today which one will win? Our aim is to meet the marchants in their request to not have to tie themselves up in big, expensive systems that might be outdated in a few years. SEQR is easy and quick to roll out and does not require any investments in hardware or similar. That is what new payment methods require ; a middleware that cannot be provided by legacy players, such as credit card providers, banks or hardware vendors.
Q: How does this work in the real world?
M.R: We, at Seamless, have developed SEQR, the first mobile wallet in Europe that is available instore and online. The smartphone application is directly connected to our transaction platform and, through them, to the merchant’s payment system. With Seamless own transaction switch transaction-processing cost is about half the cost of a traditional, credit card based method. Moreover, our API allow merchants to integrate our digital wallet at almost no cost, keeping their existing equipment at point of sale and their legacy online payment processing infrastructure. Additionally this opens up for cash-back, coupons or loyalty programs that anyone can integrate in the payment solution. In Belgium, the leading online and brick-and-mortar retailer Colruyt relies on our mobile wallet solution to allow their customers to use the same payment methods for their online purchasing or instore. Each time he uses our mobile wallet, the consumer is rewarded with delivery fees cash-back directly to his bank account. The solution is available in Sweden, Finland, Romania, Belgium and Portugal.
Q: How Limonetik helps you to achieve this goal?
M.R: Our partnership with Limonetik started with the Colruyt project in Belgium. As any new payment method, we have to deal with the payment method integration roadmap of payment service providers, in that case Ingenico (formerly Ogone). Because Limonetik platform is already connected to Ogone’s network, it allowed us to access almost instantaneously to a wide European base of acquiring partners. Limonetik enables us to accelerate our development in Europe. Moreover, Limonetik and Seamless share the same philosophy of an independent middleware layer, helping the merchants to integrate faster and at no additional cost new payment methods.