Plug and pay with Swipe HQ

Swipe HQ, a Kiwi offering with echoes of US payment technology Square, is on track to hit the market in August.

Swipe HQ, a Kiwi offering with echoes of US payment technology Square, is on track to hit the market in August.

Swipe HQ payment technologyBut founder Manas Kumar, chief executive of local tech company Optimizer HQ, says it's more than just a transactional technology, but an "end to end" business solution.

While other North American payment software is 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. 

In 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 is completed. Electronic receipts can then be sent by text message or email to the customer.

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.

"Going forward we're also meeting with specific industry groups and looking to set up key partner alliances with complementing businesses."

Manas reckons Swipe HQ has the potential to be used in any retail setting where there is a queue to pay for products and services, which he calls a fundamental failure of customer service.

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

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 that 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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