Moving beyond card payments

mCASH connects banks, merchants, and customers through their smartphones

Photo: iTunes App Store mCASH’s phone-based payment can be used at an increasing number of retailers.

Photo: iTunes App Store
mCASH’s phone-based payment can be used at an increasing number of retailers.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

mCASH is a Norwegian startup that has developed a unique payment service. It is based on a new infrastructure connecting banks, merchants, and consumers for instant smart mobile payments. Last year the skiing basecamp Sognefjorden used mCASH for both ticketing and sales during the festival. They partnered with the company so they could sell tickets directly from their website and Facebook. Also all payments for food and drinks at the basecamp could be done by phone.

Back in the day, a bank needed to stand together with other banks in order to reach the customers. The cost of developing a payment service was astronomical. The banks needed cards and machines to read cards, phone lines, huge computers, and engineers to make the whole thing work. Then they had to start convincing people that paying with a card was better than cash. To reduce risk and share costs, the sector agreed on a set of standards. The standard was made so rigid that it would be expensive and cumbersome to join so that non-banks were kept at a good distance. But all of this is changing and at a pace that scares bankers.

mCASH dates back to 2006. The idea was to enable anyone, anywhere, to pay and get paid using a mobile phone. A lot of business development has been done. The result is that mCASH is changing the way people pay and get paid, leading the ongoing upheaval within payments by mobile phone. Behind it is an infrastructure that connects banks, merchants, and people. It allows the consumer to pay with any funding source in any payment situation. The product was launched in 2014 and since then a growing number of stores, restaurants, and online shops allow their customers to pay with their phones. They want to set the standard for easy and safe payments.

The founder of mCASH is Daniel R. Døderlein. He is a serial entrepreneur with background from several IT and Telecom startups. He was named “Entrepreneur of the Year 2014” by the Norwegian Venture Capital Association. The company is owned by the founders and employees. In early 2014 the venture funds NortZone and Entrée Capital invested more than 50 million NOK. mCASH is licensed by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway to operate as a payment provider and e-money institution, in accordance with the UE payment services directive.

The largest bank in Norway (DNB) launched its own solution last year, brutally going against unwritten laws of bank cooperation. To meet the competition, to strengthen the bank’s mobile development, and to position themselves to meet the digital future, SpareBank 1 acquired mCASH for an unknown amount in October last year.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 19, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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