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Kiwi-made Swipe HQ joins growing mobile payment club, addresses ‘fundamental failure of customer service’

Swipe HQ, a
Kiwi offering with echoes of US payment technology Square, is on track
to hit the market in August. But founder Manas Kumar, chief executive of
local tech company Optimizer HQ, which listed on the German stock
exchange this year, says it’s more than just a transactional technology.
It’s an “end to end” business solution.

n short, Swipe HQ is a device smaller than a matchbox that plugs into
the audio jack of a smartphone. Much like a normal credit card
terminal, the merchant enters the amount of the purchase via an app and
swipes a credit card to complete the transaction. Electronic receipts
can then be sent by text message or email to the customer.

While
other North American payment software and all of the local banking apps
that allow payment are largely focused on the handing over of money,
Kumar says Swipe HQ integrates with other Optimizer HQ offerings,
including CRM technology and email/SMS marketing technology. And
he reckons it has the potential to be used in any retail setting where
there is a queue to pay for products and services—something he calls a
fundamental failure of customer service.

He says retail staff
could approach customers in a queue, process payments and issue
electronic receipts before they got to the counter. And it would also
allow staff in busy restaurants to take payments at the table cutting
bottlenecks and improving customer experience.

He says the company
is “working relentlessly” toward an early to mid-August launch date and
has already had hundreds of expressions of interest. Australia, Hong
Kong and Singapore are likely to introduce the technology after that.

“We’re also meeting with specific industry groups and looking to set up key partner alliances with complementing businesses.”

The
device will be given to retailers for free, with additional machines
charged for. A transaction fee (yet to be finalised) would cover other
charges like credit card fees, so merchants don’t need to deal with
banks or credit card providers. Optimizer HQ’s other marketing tools
would be optional add-ons.

There’s also an online element, he
says, so merchants can use the same account to integrate credit card
processing on their website.

“Our vision was to assist companies to link that online-offline bridge.”

Kumar
says like most Kiwis, he carries little cash (if any) these days, and
it has made for some embarrassing moments with his lawnmowing contractor
and other tradespeople.

“I ended up just feeling really bad.
Often tradespeople would come to do work and I had simply forgotten to
withdraw any cash to pay them. I talked to other friends who said they
were often in the same position so I created Swipe HQ.”

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