Merchant Innovation

Pay With ‘Cheers’ Through Social Messaging App

Can a man sitting at a desk in downtown Boston buy a woman at a Starbucks in Kansas City a cup of coffee with just his phone? He might soon be able to thanks to new social media app called Cheers, which debuted in the Philippines just prior to last Christmas and has plans to expand globally, according to company sources.

Cheers is a universal messaging app that seeks to reinvent the way mobile phones are used to be social with free chat functions that don’t require phone numbers, as well as a mobile wallet that enables users to send and receive monetary gifts for small things like a cup of coffee or a drink. Dubbed Cheers Wallet, the mobile wallet feature can be loaded at various payment centers throughout the Philippine using GCASH and pay centers, according to Tech in Asia. Money can also be withdrawn using a prepaid MasterCard that can be ordered from the app to use in physical retail outlets or other places.

For Gregor Arn, the founder of Cheers — who also goes by “Mister G” within the app — the point isn’t about what the small sums of money are earmarked for, but rather the surprise factor of receiving a gift.

“If I want to surprise someone and send a doughnut, it’s the surprise that counts. Whether that person goes and buys that doughnut or uses the money for something else they prefer, that doesn’t matter,” Arn told Tech in Asia.

The idea of using mobile apps to send others small money sums as gifts, or as a way of covering friendly debts, isn’t unique to Cheers. In China, WeChat enables users to pay utility bills and send small money transfers with its mobile messaging function, and Britain’s Paym allows small P2P transfers that are supported by a consortium of banks.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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