20-02-2019 09:00

The benefits of Swish for businesses in Sweden

As Sweden continues to move towards being a cashless society, the Swish mobile app has seen an explosion in popularity. It’s now used by over two thirds of the country’s population. Here’s what businesses in Sweden have to gain from offering Swish as a mobile payment solution.
Person using phone

If you live in Sweden, you’re probably familiar with Swish—the mobile payments app that’s become almost ubiquitous in everyday life. It’s not only beneficial for individuals wanting to pay each other, it’s also a great application for businesses that are paid by consumers. We spoke to Gunilla Garpås, Swish Product Portfolio Manager at Nordea, to find out the origins of Swish—and why now is a great time for businesses to get on board.

How Swish was born

Swish was the brainchild of a mobile payments working group, formed by the Swedish Bankers Association. Garpås was part of the original project group. She says the idea was born in response to a common problem.

“We sat down and discussed the problems facing people in Sweden. We had so many ways for consumers to pay a company. But when it came to private individuals paying each other—such as friends wanting to settle a dinner bill—there was no fast and easy option,” says Garpås.

These discussions led to the launch of the Swish mobile app in 2012, developed by Nordea and five other banks in cooperation with the Swedish clearing house Bankgirot. Swish provided a way for two individuals to pay each other simply and securely, no matter which bank they were with. And it wasn’t long before businesses took an interest.

“As soon as Swish launched, people realised the convenience it offered. That’s when companies started to knock on our door. They wanted a faster way for customers to pay them,” says Garpås. “By 2014, we’d expanded Swish to work for businesses.”

The rapid rise of Swish

In less than a decade, Swish has seen a meteoric rise in popularity. It now has over 6.9 million users—over two thirds of Sweden’s near 10 million population. “Swish is everywhere in Sweden,” says Garpås. “It’s become so normal in daily life, it’s even made its way into our vocabulary.” Garpås is referring to the verb “swisha”—which is common slang for using the app.

While there are other options for quick payments in Sweden—such as ApplePay and FitBit Pay—Swish has achieved a unique level of success by reaching almost every demographic in society. “We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved with Swish,” says Garpås. “It’s not just for tech-savvy, younger audiences. People of all ages have embraced Swish—from children to grandparents!”

The benefits for businesses

With such a large proportion of Sweden’s population using Swish, it’s become an indispensable tool for businesses. Without it, companies may not be able to provide their customers with the seamless experience they’ve come to expect.

“People in Sweden don’t really carry cash with them anymore,” says Garpås. “Swish gives customers an easy way to make purchases on the go—whether they’re buying something in-store, or making a payment during their commute to work. They don’t have to go digging through their bag for a wallet or payment card. That’s helping businesses to make sales and make sure they get paid on time.”

Businesses also benefit from the real-time processing of funds. Unlike other payment systems, where funds can take up to seven days to move between different banks’ accounts, Swish transactions land in the receiver’s account almost immediately. That means both seller and buyer can benefit from stable conversion rates—and the seller can manage its cashflow more effectively.

Nordea has a specialised set of Swish tools for its corporate customers. “With these tools—Nordea Swish Företag Admin, Nordea Swish Företag App and Nordea Swish Företag Webb—companies can more effectively monitor and administer their Swish transactions,” explains Garpås.

“As the tools only show the company’s Swish-payments and not their bank account transactions, the company can offer access to any of its employees who need to see Swish payments in real-time. The corporate tools also enable companies to refund customers’ Swish payments, create Swish QR-codes and generate reports.”

How much does Swish cost?

While Swish has a standard fee of 2 kronors per transaction for businesses, this can vary depending on company size and requirements. Nordea is happy to advise businesses on the setup that would best suit their needs. And none of the costs are passed on to the customers of the seller—meaning they have every incentive to take advantage of this convenient way of paying.

For non-profit organisations, it gets even better. Nordea is the only bank in Sweden to offer Swish to registered charity organisations without charging transaction fees. That means more money from donations can go towards those in need. Charities like Radiohjälpen are already using the service with great results.

How to get started with Swish

It’s easy for businesses to get set up with Swish—and results are often seen fast. “We have several examples of customers that have launched Swish as a payment solution and not anticipated how fast the customer uptake would be. In some cases, they’ve gone from 0% to 50% of total sales happening through Swish over a launch period of just 2-3 months,” says Garpås.

“Setting up a Swish account only takes a few minutes. Then your customers can start making payments straight away,” she adds. “But if you want to customise your payment options and get the best results for your organisation, it’s a good idea to reach out to Nordea.”

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