SoCash has been awarded a grant by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for this innovative idea of turning every store into cash points, allowing customers to make cash withdrawals without going to ATMs. The best part of SoCash, however, is that unlike ATMs, the platform enables money transactions without imposing any charges.
Explaining the concept behind SoCash, CEO Hari Sivan says, “Cash logistics is a supply chain problem. We are used to withdrawing money from ATMs and branches, but we never think that there is always cash ‘floating’ around us. The shops near us have cash, our neighbours have cash. If we can match demand and supply of cash in a community, we don’t need ATMs. Therefore, through SoCash, we have built a secure digital platform for exchange of cash, backed by transfer of funds between bank accounts, complying with regulatory frameworks of banking compliance, risks management and money laundering control.”
SoCash works with banks and integrates into their mobile banking or mobile wallet applications. These mobile applications and platforms settle each transaction as electronic fund transfer between the bank accounts involved in the transaction, which means that cash circulates within the community without having to go through the ATM supply chain and in turn is very useful to the customer as it allows quick and easier access to cash without being charged for basic banking services.
They are associated with all major retail banks in South East Asia, which will definitely ease the entire implementation process. In addition to this, the banking sector is also benefited as this provides wider access to banking services and there is no need to spend money on installing ATMs. Nevertheless, cash points also get to have a new revenue stream without any investment.
Sharing his feelings on the recognition received by SoCash, Mr. Sivan says that backing from a regulator like MAS is a valuable endorsement of the product, platform, and the business model.
“We work for banks, we don’t disrupt them. It is indeed encouraging that regulators have started to look at technology to solve inherent problems in the industry,” he added.
The company has a well-planned and fixed goal in terms of developing banking activities and are of the opinion that it will become smarter, easier and cheaper for the residents in Singapore. They intend to shift at least 50 per cent of the current ATM load to SoCash, because according to them the country generates 2 crore ATM withdrawal transactions per month and it takes approximately 100 Million USD every year just to run the network and ensure availability of cash.
The platform will therefore help banking industry to achieve flexibility in investing the savings into productive use of capital. By using technology in an appropriate manner, the platform also takes banking services nearer to the customer, so the branch network can also be optimised.
Given the present ATM woes in India, it is clear that cash is very crucial for an economy to sustain itself and that there is no substitute for cash. Therefore, it would do well to implement platforms like SoCash here as well. The company, however, has studied this condition and plans to launch the platform in India as well by the beginning of next year.
The founders are extremely positive about launching their operations in India and say that the young demographics, availability of a good electronic payment infrastructure, and growing penetration of mobile applications in the economy is a perfect mix for SoCash to thrive.
SoCash is the first start-up that is being provided with a government grant under The Financial Sector Technology and Innovation scheme for proof of concepts. The grant is provided to Singapore-based financial institutions or technology providers in order to help them develop their project that is meant to implement innovative activities in the country, which will in turn help the citizens. The funds are meant to persuade financial institutions and technology providers to open innovation centres and technology infrastructure in Singapore.
The team SoCash, which includes bankers and technologists with global experience in cash management, payments and banking platforms, understands that cash is the apt method for payment and this is how they developed a concept that will help people with regard to money without approaching an ATM!