Even before the credit card, the preferred method of payment in Switzerland is the invoice. However, for merchants and even more so for e-merchants, this means not necessarily having a guarantee of settlement and sending, restarting, recalling, following ... an administrative management that they have neither time nor desire to deal with. With the development of online shopping, settling otherwise may also mean paying before receiving the product, which can cause some frustration for the buyer. The objective of swissbilling is therefore to provide innovative means of payment to meet its needs and problems. The Swiss startup offers a flexible solution for invoicing settlements. Whether the purchase is made online or in a shop, swissbilling verifies the credit worthiness of the customers, the invoice is sent to them electronically or by post, and then within 24 hours the payment is submitted to the supplier. In addition to simplifying invoice management, the solution guarantees payment, ensuring the risk of loss and fraud.
To better understand the stakes of the start-up, we interviewed Dr. Jean-Christophe Calmes, founder of swissbilling and Francesco D`Alessandro, CSO.
FDA: swissbilling SA is a Swiss-based invoice financing company. The goal is to provide payment solutions that are innovative, intelligent and humane, for both online commerce and traditional commerce. In February 2017, Cembra Money Bank AG has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of swissbilling SA.
JCC: The idea of creating swissbilling came from the observation that the payment by invoice was the subject of a strong demand from buyers in Switzerland but that the merchants were afraid to propose it for fear of losses and administrative work related to billing. We have therefore thought to find a solution to this problem by guaranteeing the merchants the payment of their invoice and avoiding all administrative work for it. To achieve this, swissbilling was to invent a real-time risk control system and a flexible billing infrastructure for merchants. Real-time risk control was a major challenge, which took us three years. A good control is not a strict control, but an intelligent control that offers a maximum acceptance rate and flexibility according to the needs of each merchant. We had to try several solutions before achieving an optimal result. But the effort was worth it: the swissbilling bill payment solution enabled our merchants to meet the expectations of their customers by providing them with a simple and secure means of payment, increasing their turnover by more than 20 % on average and to stay focused on their core business. Today swissbilling focuses on developing our services to continue to offer merchants a simple way to grow their business while delivering an outstanding payment experience to buyers.”
FDA: Well, the main important benefit for companies is that the entrepreneur has the possibility to offer the most favored payment method of the Swiss people without any risk and trouble for unpaid dept. More than 70 % of all purchases in Switzerland are done by invoice. We offer an advantageous solution without any debt risk, because we cover all the risk of customers not paying, including the fraud risk! When we accept the transaction, then we will pay no matter what happens. Our own experience shows a substantial increase in sales (from 10 % to 30 % on average) for all our merchants who have adopted payment by invoice and actively promote it. The third important point is, that the merchants will get the money in advance! It helps them increase their cash flow and thus secure their planning. But also the customers have advantages by choosing to pay by invoice. First of all they enjoy the trust of the merchant to pay after receiving the goods! Furthermore the customers have no struggles to pay immediately because of the customer friendly payment time. And last but not least, it is easier to get a credit note in the case of good returns.
FDA: We are sure, that we will reach our goal for the next 5 years! Our team is working hard to get better solutions in terms of easier implementation of swissbilling in the e-commerce and in the traditional retail. But also we focus on the wishes of our buyers. Because, without buyers there is no business. The challenge will be to create and set up smart solutions for both – the entrepreneur and the buyer.
FDA: No unfortunately not yet. In the last years, we were occupied with our self and we didn`t have the time to find or create synergies. Furthermore, we spent one year with the M&A in addition to the daily business. But we are open for discussion and open for synergies. We are looking forward to getting new impulses from interested people and companies.
FDA: For sure! Why not! We have exponent universities and young people who are hungry to be a part of promising new projects. Switzerland is a multicultural country with a lot of different charismatic personalities. This gave us the advantage of understanding what the market needs. I believe that the Swiss market it the most difficult market worldwide. So, I`m sure, if you are successful in this country then you will have no border! I believe we have to be carefully in one respect: young creative people need affordable places to work and better ways of funding! Maybe these are the challenges. Switzerland is for sure expensive and maybe temperate in leap of faith of funding.