PAYMENT BUSINESS MAINTAINS ITS HIGH RATE OF GROWTH

The Payment division, repositioned through the sale of the Acquiring business, made good progress in 2017. The number of issued cards increased to around 1.5 million. The range of digital services was further expanded. With the acquisition of a majority interest in Contovista, the Aduno Group is focusing on finance management solutions and analytics.

In 2017, the Aduno Group repositioned the Payment division. The Acquiring and Terminals business, responsible for the acceptance and processing of electronic payments at merchants, was sold to SIX Payment Services Ltd. In future, the cards business of the Aduno Group will be focused on Viseca’s issuing operation. The Group’s Payment division also encompasses the guarantee deposit business. as well as Contovista’s finance management solutions and analytics.

Viseca enters the debit card business

Viseca is one of the largest issuers of payment cards in Switzerland. Its private and corporate customers benefit from a broad range of products and services. Viseca continued the volume growth enjoyed in the past few years in the reporting year and increased the number of issued cards by around 63,000 to a total of 1.49 million. Transaction turnover exceeded the CHF 9 billion mark for the first time.

In the 2017 financial year, the Aduno Group, working with several cantonal banks, put the conditions in place for launching the Debit Mastercard® and Mastercard® Flex in Switzerland. This means that the Aduno Group is entering the debit card business, allowing it to tap new customer groups and turnover potential. These modern debit cards combine the well-established advantages offered by traditional debit bank cards with the additional, contemporary and future-proof functions of a credit card: online shopping, acceptance around the world, security and full control of expenditure. During the payment process in a shop or on the Internet, customers can easily choose between credit card or debit card payment. The Debit Mastercard® is also equipped with a contactless function and is suitable for paying with a smartphone.

Issuing drives digitisation strategy forwards

The key focus of Issuing in the past financial year lay on pushing ahead with digital payment projects. One success story is the digital service VisecaOne: the VisecaOne app is one of Switzerland’s three most popular apps in the iOS App Store, Finance category. It has been downloaded more than 700,000 times and has 250,000 active users a month. VisecaOne is the digital interface to the cashless payment means offered by Viseca. With VisecaOne, customers can access and check an overview of their payment cards via a smartphone or computer. Using the VisecaOne app, they can approve e-commerce payments simply and securely on a smartphone, check card transactions in real time and subscribe to push notifications. Another encouraging development in this connection is that losses from fraud in 2017 were lower than they have ever been in the history of the Aduno Group.

The expansion of Viseca Masterpass, the digital wallet for online purchases, was likewise successful. This online payment solution, developed in collaboration with Mastercard, was activated at additional shareholder banks. At present, more than 700,000 Viseca customers have registered for the Masterpass and can use it to make payments conveniently, quickly and securely in over 300,000 online shops worldwide.

The rewards programme surprize that is popular with cardholders and merchants also did well in 2017. Well-known brands were added to the partner network. This gives cardholders an even larger selection of attractive rewards.

Paying with a fitness tracker

In the near future, digital payment solutions will be established that are based on the tokenisation standards of the international card networks. This means that card details are encrypted on a “token” – a digital substitute for the physical card – so that it can be used instead of the card for contactless purchases in shops, in apps or on the Internet.

In 2017, the Aduno Group made preparations for providing its customers with such token-based digital payment solutions for new devices and applications such as smartphones, wearables and IoT (Internet of Things). In the first quarter of 2018, for example, payments using the Fitbit and Garmin smartwatches will be introduced onto the market.

Majority interest acquired in Contovista

At the beginning of August 2017, the Aduno Group increased its stake in the Swiss fintech start-up Contovista AG to 70 per cent. Nine cantonal banks now use the personal finance management solution offered by Contovista. The provision of analytics services for banks is being expanded in a collaborative effort. In this way, the Aduno Group can offer its partner banks valuable support in the digitisation of their business. With this solution, banks can extend the important digital customer interface with value added services and thereby create an attractive customer experience for personal and business customers. For example, bank customers can be given the option of importing their credit card transactions into their e-banking solution, where they can check them and create clear graphic overviews.

Furthermore, the Aduno Group in conjunction with Contovista can assist the banks in predictive analytics and smart data applications. Banks can thus use the data they have available to offer individualised services in digital and mobile banking.

Performance of the guarantee deposit business

For the guarantee deposit business, 2017 was a year of transition. Following the Aduno Group’s acquisition in 2016 of SmartCaution, which mainly operates in the Geneva area, the focus in the year under review was on new products that will be progressively introduced from 2018.