soCash, the Singapore-headquartered start-up which converts shops into virtual ATMs announced that it has tied-up a partnership with ICBC Singapore (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Singapore Branch). Through this new partnership, soCash will extend its services to all ICBC customers in Singapore and enable them to perform basic banking services like cash withdrawal from neighbourhood shops using the soCash app. More banking services will be rolled out progressively taking the bank closer to its growing customer base.
“As virtual banks emerge in Asia and traditional banks embrace digital business models, there is a growing need for more O2O (Online to offline) networks. Our collaboration with ICBC demonstrates soCash’s ability to enable banks to scale beyond the vintage branch & kiosk-based models,” said Hari Sivan, CEO of soCash. “With this launch, thousands of our partner shops now have the platform to offer ICBC’s product & services, generating new revenue opportunities for them. We are honoured to have ICBC on our network as a strategic partner. ICBC’s strong presence across Asia will help to elevate our presence in more markets in Southeast Asia and beyond.”
Launched in mid-2018, the soCash app started off allowing bank customers to withdraw cash from stores as an alternative to ATMs. As its technology directly plugs into the banks’ APIs, users can place a cash order via the soCash app and select a nearby merchant to collect the cash from, while the app deducts the selected amount from the customer’s account. This is all done digitally without the need for a card or even a PIN code. With thousands of partner shops primarily in HDB estates, condominiums and Industrial areas on its network, soCash has evolved into a digital distribution channel for banks offering a suite of services.
Today, there are 18 million cash withdrawals taking place every month in Singapore; despite the country’s financial ecosystem moving towards widespread cashless transactions. The continued growth of currency in circulation in the economy necessitates the need for expensive cash logistics solutions. soCash provides an alternative by enabling cash circulation to bypass these channels.
soCash seeks to bridge the gap between the demand for cash and the need for banks to keep their cash management costs down – namely by offering a mobile platform that promotes a more seamless flow of cash without the use of ATMs. With the ICBC partnership, soCash can strengthen its distribution network and move an inch closer towards internationalising its services. The company is already gearing up for its expansion in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia after securing the regulatory approvals for the launch.
“Singapore is Southeast Asia’s finance hub,” said Ms Geng Hao, Deputy General Manager of ICBC Singapore. “We decided to partner with soCash as its innovative FinTech platform will greatly help us expand our local presence beyond just our branches and ATMs, while also providing our customers here with a more convenient way to obtain cash.”
In addition to ICBC Singapore, soCash has partnered with other major banks including DBS, POSB, and Standard Chartered to provide instant ATM-free access to cash across Singapore. Its cash network platform now comprises of more than 1,300 locations around Singapore; with its service available at other retail chains such as SPH Buzz, U Stars supermarket, iECON stores, U Mart, 7-Eleven and HAO Mart.