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TECH TALK: SWISH

What makes your work – and life – easier? A quick chat about favourite tools. This time we have Sofia Wingren, who is the CEO of global learning provider Hyper Island, headquartered in Sweden

Your favorite tool:

It’s Swish. In this age of digital ubiquity, there is no more overt a sign of a consumer tech company’s success than when it enters the lexicon as a verb. “Let me Google that.” “I’ll Facebook you.” And – in my native Sweden and amongst the Swedish diaspora – “Just Swish me.”

What is the purpose of Swish and how does it work:

Swish is a free instant mobile payment app that revolutionized our relationship with cash in Sweden. The brainchild of six major Swedish banks and the Central Bank of Sweden, it allows users to instantaneously and securely transfer money to others without the need for anything more than the app and the phone number of the recipient. Transfers are secured with the standard mobile safety solution, BankID. There are no transfer fees and no delays.

Sweden is often touted as the country that will become the world’s first cashless society, with unwieldy, eco-unfriendly cash quickly becoming obsolete – and Swish has certainly contributed to that. Nearly a billion dollars has been transferred (in Swedish krona) via Swish since its launch in 2012, yet it is relatively unknown outside of its country of origin.

It is a brilliant piece of Swedish innovation. My homeland is renowned for its digital ingenuity;  despite our small population, we are home to globally-known digital-focussed brands like Spotify, Skype, iZettle, and of course Hyper Island. But Swish is unique as a wildly successful tool that was created by a consortium of big national banks. It has become a key tool in the lives of millions of users, without a single dollar of VC investment.

The impact of Swish:

For Stockholmers like myself, the verb “to Swish” is entirely part of the language. This is indicative of the app’s ubiquity here. It is used by 6.33 million people in Sweden according to The Local – well over half the country’s population. Swedish banks see more Swish transactions than ATM withdrawals.

The app has completely changed the way we make small payments. Gone are the days of having to request a series of long numbers, going through the multiple stages of a clunky banking app or website, adding a transfer recipient, entering security codes, and then waiting for the money to transfer. Swish is as simple as handing over the exact change – except you don’t need to carry change.

I use Swish almost daily. From instantaneously splitting a bill, making a purchase at a flea market, or distributing pocket money to children, it is a tool that constantly saves precious minutes and removes fiddly frustrations. It is efficient, clever, and fair. Much like Sweden.

About

For over two decades, Hyper Island has led in corporate digital transformation and driven development in education and runs business schools and hubs in Sweden, the US, the UK, Singapore, and Brazil.

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