Each country and region is a story for itself. World-leading countries have spent many years developing the relevant industries and made this process easy going, and on the other hand, some countries found this process a little bit challenging. We at Visa noticed an increasing interest in the fintech area, through our Visa Everywhere Initiative.
While some trends are accelerating due to Covid-19, most were evident and growing rapidly before the pandemic. These trends and initiatives such as open finance, open banking, and APIs, brought new players to tech markets and changed the game rules.
“Each country and region is a story for itself. World-leading countries have spent many years developing the relevant industries and made this process easy going, and on the other hand, some countries found this process a little bit challenging. However, the SEE region shows a lot of potential for the fintech industry“ said Yevgen Lisnyak Visa’s Head of Strategic Partnerships, Fintech & Ventures for the CISSEE region.
In an interview for Diplomacy and Commerce, Yevgen Lisnyak, who recently spoke at Belgrade Economic Forum on the topic “Driving the new economy through partnerships and innovations”, talked with us about new trends and partnerships, interesting projects developed, and fintech development in the SEE region.
Over the last years, we are witnessing some different directions of tech market-shaping, with new financial players appearing – fintech and new banks. Does this mean that traditional actors will be replaced, or are new partnerships between older and younger players on the horizon?
We are witnessing a rapid transformation of the financial banking sector. Today fintech, which combines finance and technology, is a dynamically developing segment that complements the traditional financial world and provides new opportunities for consumers and the financial market in general. More and more tech and business giants are showing an inclination towards fintech in the face of AI, blockchain, and cryptocurrency is gaining importance worldwide. At the same time, the increased focus on data opportunities and clearer regulatory jurisdictions have contributed to the massive acceptance of fintech across verticals. Fintech has been empowering businesses and people across the globe for the last few years.
“Visa Everywhere Initiative has helped 7,000 start-ups to raise more than $2.5 billion in funding collectively over the past five years”
The revolutionary field has managed to transform multiple businesses in varying segments, from retail banking to financial advisory services and more. The powerful impact of fintech has also trickled down the industries of stock trading, transportation, smart cities infrastructure, and more. At Visa, we believe in the power of partnership. So, I am assured strategic partnerships between banks and neo banks are likely to emerge in the coming years. Banks bring control and authority, while the neo banks bring innovation and speed, and brand-new clients. On the one hand, the bank is a well-established cautiously-moving source of funds and typically risk-averse which emits confidence, while neo banks are attractive to consumers through their earnestness to serve, customer-centric digital interfaces, and speed.
What is Visa’s role in this process?
Visa is connecting dots. Our goal is that all of our clients are in a position to build better digital experiences for their consumers. We would love it if every bank had the latest tools to onboard clients and build digital experiences but that is not the case. Luckily, we’re bringing innovation into the financial ecosystem so that anyone can take advantage and at the same time declare openness for new players. Visa is offering 360 degrees support to fintech players. From helping them in the phase of product building, growth acceleration, and service improvement, to connecting them with certified partners for digital publishing and traditional players that are willing to integrate such products in their business models. We act as a one-stop shop for fintech.
Could you share with us, some interesting projects that came from these partnerships?
Many payment platforms and fintech are already collaborating with Visa globally to create new consumer and merchant experiences. I would like to point out our collaboration with Space, the first Georgian neo bank, on developing innovative, user-centric, and secure banking solutions. Launched in 2018 with just three employees, Space has achieved more than 400,000 downloads and 160,000 registered customers in a few years only. Structured as an autonomous business, Space provides customers with a full range of retail banking services including loans, saving products, and payment cards. Visa also is helping the neo bank to investigate expansion to other countries focusing on CISSEE geographic area.
“Many payment platforms and fintech are already collaborating with Visa globally to create new consumer and merchant experiences”
Then, we have established collaboration with the first Ukrainian neo bank, Monobank, which is only three years old and reached over 4 million happy customers. Also, Visa’s Tap to Phone solution is one of the services that has emerged from a collaboration with fintech. The solution transforms Android smartphones into POS terminals via a simple mobile app allowing businesses to accept contactless payments without additional investments in hardware.
At the recently held Belgrade Economic Forum, you said that more and more banks globally declare openness toward fintech, becoming platforms for the development of new projects and products. How do you see the development of this process in the SEE region?
Each country and region is a story for itself. World-leading countries have spent many years developing the relevant industries and made this process easy going, and on the other hand, some countries found this process a little bit challenging. However, the SEE region shows a lot of potential for the fintech industry. We at Visa noticed an increasing interest in the fintech area, through our Visa Everywhere Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to help these new players further enhance their product propositions and provide visionary solutions for Visa’s vast network of partners. Visa Everywhere Initiative has helped 7,000 start-ups to raise more than $2.5 billion in funding collectively over the past five years. The greatest benefit we are offering to participants of the Visa Everywhere Initiative is the opportunity to scale their businesses through Visa’s global reach. Also, we are expecting to work with local providers on enabling peer-to-peer, and B2B payments in the future, as the next big thing in the payment industry.
Digital Property Law
One more important thing I would like to point out I am very glad that Serbia now has a Digital Property Law, which brings a great legal framework for developing the fintech industry. So, that’s also one great signal that Serbia is taking steps towards the fintech industry.