Mainstream-AdaptionEurope’s largest payment provider brings Bitcoin to the tills

At the end of last year, Wordline announced that it would work with the financial services provider Bitcoin Suisse to increase the acceptance of cryptocurrencies in retail and e-commerce. The pilot project has been running successfully so far; the final rollout is now set to follow in the next six months.

Exactly a year ago, the French payment service provider Worldlineand the Swiss crypto broker Bitcoin Suisse signed a letter of intent to jointly bring cryptocurrencies to the till. Both companies are initially pursuing the goal of offering Swiss retailers and consumers services for paying with cryptocurrencies in shops and online shops. Wordline is the largest payment service provider in Europe and the fourth largest provider worldwide.

The French company launched a pilot with selected dealers in Switzerland this July. These include mostly hotels and restaurants, but also jewelry dealers and electronics shops in different parts of Switzerland. Since then, they have been accepting Bitcoin and Ether via the company’s solution, but they are still paid out in Swiss francs. According to Dr. Andreas Rehrauer , responsible for the payment product portfolio and innovations at Worldline, should not bear any currency risk for merchants. In addition, there is no additional complexity in billing, as the transactions are integrated into the merchant billing like other card payments.

Dr. Rehrauer towards BTC-ECHO as follows:

Since the start of the crypto initiative about a year ago, we have come a big step further and now have a successful pilot in the market. Since the end of July, three-digit transactions have been settled using crypto currencies – the trend is increasing despite Corona. About three quarters of that was in Bitcoin and a quarter in Ether. However, the solution is designed in such a way that cryptocurrencies can be flexibly expanded or removed, depending on the payment preferences of consumers.

Dr. According to Rehrauer, the feedback from dealers is positive. So they “even partially actively advertised it themselves on their channels”.

How the crypto payment works

From the customer’s point of view, the transaction works in a similar way to the online payment app TWINT, in which Worldline is involved: A QR code is displayed at the point of sale that is scanned with a crypto wallet app. Then it is shown how much the purchased goods cost in the desired cryptocurrency. As soon as the user has approved the payment in the app, it is triggered, processed and confirmed. According to Dr. Rehrauer, the crypto alliance benefits from the fact that more and more people are paying with their mobile phones:

More and more people are used to paying based on QR codes. The best example is TWINT in Switzerland, but also, for example, in an international context, Alipay or WeChat Pay. And buyers who are already used to paying with their mobile phone and with a QR code, the step to Bitcoin is no longer so big for them.

Worldline: expand acceptance portfolio

The partnership with Bitcoin Suisse, which was sealed with a five-year contract this summer, is about expanding Worldline’s acceptance portfolio with another innovative means of payment, explains Dr. Rehrauer.

We believe that the whole topic of cryptocurrencies is moving more and more into the middle of society. Not least because of Libra, CBDCs, or recently PayPal. There is a lot of movement in the entire market. Especially now, when such an established and renowned payment provider as Worldline delivers a trustworthy offer, the whole thing takes on a different solidity and seriousness.

he continues.

As a result, the French payment service provider offers the infrastructure and payment processing in fiat currency within an established dealer network, while Bitcoin Suisse contributes its expertise in dealing with crypto currencies.

Worldline solution is in the starting blocks in 2021

As Wordline learned, the payment provider has already planned to implement the solution within Switzerland in the next half of the year, said Dr. Rehrauer. The cooperation is then expanded from the presence business (dealer in the store) to the e-commerce business. In addition, the crypto offer will also be offered via Wordlines e-payment service provider, Saferpay.

Against the background of the corona pandemic, the already rapidly growing e-commerce channel has significantly greater potential,

says Dr. Rehrauer.

From Switzerland to Europe

Wordline also plans to expand its new cryptocurrency payment services across Europe, and possibly beyond, after a successful start in Switzerland in the face-to-face and e-commerce business. The French payment service provider is active in over 170 countries worldwide. If the new alliance achieves its goals, the importance of cryptocurrencies in everyday life is likely to increase significantly. Up to now, widespread acceptance as a payment solution has not been achieved. Large projects like Facebook’s Libra are stalling, mainly due to regulatory hurdles.

Cryptocurrencies are designed internationally. There are no national borders per se. For us, it is very clear on the roadmap that we will also expand into other European countries and beyond in the future. With such innovative payment offers, we want to help shape the way in which we pay, live and do our business,

says Dr. Rehrauer.

Wordline in the middle of the wave of consolidation

Of course, the topic of cryptocurrencies is gaining in importance, not least due to the merger of Worldline and the payment provider Ingenico. The leading European payment provider recently announced that it had swallowed its large competitor Ingenico. The French companies had already announced the merger in February. Ingenico was valued at 7.8 billion euros.

Unlike many crypto start-ups, we don’t start from scratch. We are already a large payment processor with over a million merchants in the network. That means we can use our existing dealer relationships in umpteen countries to offer crypto in addition to many other payment methods in the future. This enormous reach was already given by Worldline, but has become significantly larger and more global through the merger with Ingenico. It is now necessary to use this potential,

explains Dr. Rehrauer in conclusion.

The payment service provider is apparently in the midst of a global wave of consolidation. As a result, there were several megadeals in the USA, and further mergers are also emerging in Europe. At the beginning of October, for example, the two Italian payment service providers Nexi and Sia announced their merger plans. Worldline is represented in Germany by Payone, a joint venture between Sparkassen and Ingenico.

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