SoCash: Connecting Asia’s consumers to mobile-driven cash services through Google Maps Platform

About SoCash

SoCash is a platform that enables cash withdrawals from cafes and small stores via a mobile app. Founded in 2016, it operates in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and aims to create the world’s largest smartphone-based cash network.

Industries: Financial Services, Technology
Location: Singapore

About Searce

Searce is a digital transformation company that helps businesses design, implement, and improve their location strategy with Google Maps Platform.

SoCash developed an innovative cash distribution app, achieved double-digit monthly growth rates, enabled regional financial inclusion, and built a massive shop network using Google Maps Platform.

Google Cloud results

  • Enables rapid financial inclusion for millions of previously unbanked customers throughout Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia
  • Delivers key shop information via powerful Maps, Routes, and Places APIs
  • Reduces SoCash platform response times to enable the processing of hundreds of thousands of events

Google Maps Platform drives 22% monthly growth

“The idea behind SoCash is to use technology to remove banking from branches and take it directly to the consumers.”

Hari Sivan, CEO, SoCash

While Southeast Asia is a region of 650 million people experiencing rising incomes and embracing new technology, millions of people still don’t have access to traditional banking accounts. To address this need, Singapore-based company SoCash seized an opportunity to enable access to cash for people in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. If ATMs aren’t readily available, SoCash thought, why not turn cafes, fruit vendors, pizza parlors, mom-and-pop stores, and more into a sprawling Southeast Asian cash network accessible through a mobile app?

“The idea behind SoCash is to use technology to remove banking from branches and take it directly to the consumers,” explains SoCash CEO Hari Sivan.

But tracking down a tiny grocery store in a bustling megalopolis like Jakarta is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. That’s why SoCash needed the most powerful mapping solution available to drive its mission of enabling cash connections. The company turned to Google Maps Platform as the backbone of its solution to bring financial access to a region on the move.

“We needed a reliable solution that integrates painlessly across platforms such as Android and iOS,” says Hari. “And Google Maps Platform provided a proven, cross-platform solution that helped us get off the ground quickly.”

For a smooth implementation, SoCash worked with digital transformation company Searce. “Searce has been a valuable partner in our engagement with Google tools and platforms,” adds Hari. “Its inputs have been valuable for us to understand how best the Google Maps Platform capabilities can add value to our mission.”

SoCash app in use

Driving financial innovation with powerful APIs

SoCash is helping to shape the region’s powerful internet banking wave by connecting consumer, shop, and bank on a single smartphone-based platform. With no additional hardware, the solution eliminates the need for branches, ATMs, or card-reading machines. Withdrawals are validated by QR code. Costs are kept down by removing layers of intermediaries.

SoCash is growing at a CMGR (compound monthly growth rate) of 22%, demonstrating how it has tapped a huge financial need. According to Hari, SoCash attributes 100% of its growth to the extensive lineup of APIs on Google Maps Platform, which enable creative geolocation solutions that turn sometimes confusing urban layouts into simple spaces that are easy to navigate.

“Location is one of the most critical components of our application,” says Hari. “Google Maps Platform drives our user experience and helps us tailor the experience based on where our users are.”

“The key thing has been the quality and simplicity of Google Maps Platform APIs. It’s essential to have tools which our engineering team is comfortable with and finds easy to use.”

Hari Sivan, CEO, SoCash

Places APIs such as Geocoding API and Reverse Geocoding API help SoCash direct its users to the best places to withdraw cash by turning addresses into geographic coordinates and the other way round. These tools combine with Distance Matrix API to allow customers to make informed decisions on their immediate cash needs. The APIs also deliver crucial information such as store opening and closing times or when a vendor’s usual operating hours change.

Importantly, the pinpoint precision of Google Maps Platform has allowed SoCash to develop robust fraud detection mechanisms that guarantee the safety of its own platform.

“The key thing has been the quality and simplicity of the Google Maps Platform APIs,” says Hari. “It’s essential to have tools which our engineering team is comfortable with and finds easy to use.”

“The latest Google Maps Platform upgrade brought down response times by a few milliseconds. That may sound small, but we’re processing hundreds of thousands of events, and load is very high. Every millisecond matters.”

Hari Sivan, CEO, SoCash

Adopting Google best practices such as proxy server deployments has helped SoCash keep down costs while providing seamless experiences. The stream of updates for Google Maps Platform, meanwhile, translates into continuous performance improvements on the SoCash platform as well.

“The latest Google Maps Platform upgrade brought down response times by a few milliseconds,” says Hari. “That may sound small, but we’re processing hundreds of thousands of events, and the load is very high. Every millisecond matters.”

SoCash app in use

Connecting a sprawling region through machine learning

In the next phase of SoCash’s journey with Google, the company is moving toward adopting Google Cloud machine learning solutions to personalize the user experience.

“We’re just at the stage where we’ve collected enough data to start turning it into intelligent insights,” says Hari. “Our team is now working with machine learning experts at Google to model predictions such as, ‘when will Hari need cash next?’”

As SoCash expands its cash network across Southeast Asia, it anticipates a need to cater to the specific requirements of each market within the region. That means data analytics will become increasingly vital to the solution. “What works for Singapore may not work for Malaysia, for example,” says Hari. “So we need to customize for each market using the data that we collect.”

Amid strong growth, SoCash maintains a keen focus on its mission to enable better financial access by bringing consumers and small shops together. “At the end of the day, it’s all about connecting people,” says Hari, “and that’s why Google Maps Platform will always be at the core of our platform.”

SoCash app in use

About SoCash

SoCash is a platform that enables cash withdrawals from cafes and small stores via a mobile app. Founded in 2016, it operates in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and aims to create the world’s largest smartphone-based cash network.

Industries: Financial Services, Technology
Location: Singapore

About Searce

Searce is a digital transformation company that helps businesses design, implement, and improve their location strategy with Google Maps Platform.