Cashless Ukraine Summit: Innovative Approaches and Trends

Global Payments Technology Company Visa organized the Cashless Ukraine Summit 2016 with a special online broadcast from the event for Georgian media representatives last week.

The topics of discussions ranged from issues related to the currently implemented innovative financial services, to contactless and electronic payments which, in the rapidly changing world of an ongoing digital revolution, bring customers to a new reality with a cashless economy steadily developing and breaking the stereotypes of a traditional system of payments.

Online presentations were made by Mandy Lamb, Visa Group Country Manager for CIS and South-east Europe; Dmytro Shymkiv, Deputy Head of Ukraine’s President Administration; Andy Woolnough, Vice President for corporate relations Visa; Valeria Gontareva, Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine; Nino Masurashvili, Deputy CEO Retail and SME Banking TBC Bank Georgia; Erik Benz, Founder of Credits UK; Ana Nives Radovic, Editor and analyst of Fintech; and Volodymir Lavrenchuk, CEO of Raiffesen Bank Aval.

The speakers discussed recent successful practices, challenges and demands, addressed the development of a cashless economy, emphasizing the need to spread awareness and knowledge of the existing global trends in the e-commerce, mobile banking and mobile payments sphere, and spoke about the importance of innovative education and raising financial literacy that should be directed to the promotion of a cashless payment economy.

Cashless payments are seen as a possibility to ease financial operations and make them less time consuming, whereas time is the most valuable resource nowadays and should be used wisely and responsibly. It was stressed numerous times during the summit that a cashless economy is the future for the 21st century, but in order to make it work, financial institutions, regulators and banks should join their efforts to move forward.

The case of Denmark was presented as a success story by Dmytro Shymkiv, Deputy Head of Ukraine’s President Administration, since Denmark is the number one country in the world for using cashless payments systems, having done so for over 10 years now. A special card – the Den Card was created and incentives offered with the intention to create an environment and inspire every citizen of Denmark to actually pay for their services or for products using it.

“There are four key innovations that drive the process of a cashless economy,” Shymkiv stated. “The first is mobile payments, (Apple pay); integrated billing is the second, where the service is fully integrated into a cashless economy (Uber Cabs, for example). The third is streamline payments, or geobased payments, where when you enter a certain geolocation, an immediate transaction takes place, and finally we experience the next generation of security- security and prevention of fraud,” he said, going on to emphasize that simplicity is essential when talking about a cashless economy. “The three important aspects of cashless economy are: simplicity, inter-operability and value added services. The future of the world is cashless, how quickly Ukraine gets there depends on us, it’s a cultural change. The question for us is how to encourage people to be cashless,” Shymkiv said.

“At visa we believe that financial education is foundational, because financially educated consumers living in inclusive societies create more sustained economic growth,” said Andy Woolnough of Visa. “Financial education is in our DNA at Visa. Since 1995 we’ve been providing parents, teachers, students, governments and NGOs with high quality free financial educational materials with which they can make better financial decisions. So far, we’ve reached 40 million people but we need to do more. I believe that financial education can be a neighbor to a cashless society, but also a beneficiary of it. For consumers to adopt electronic payment en-masse, they need to believe that those electronic payments are more reliable, more convenient and safer than the alternative. They need to understand credit products versus debit products versus prepaid products… It’s about trust, and education leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to trust, trust then drives usage and adoption.”

Erik Benz, Founder of Credits UK, introduced BlockChain and described how it is to transform a cashless society, especially in emerging markets such as Ukriane.

“BlockChain is not about payments, bitcoins, banking, smart contracts, and capital markets or securities settlment. In reality, BlockChain is a trust mashine. It’s the ability to establish trust between parties. With BlockChain, the infrastructure can be changed and become more efficient. Legacy systems are broken and before we transform human mindsets in order to have people using cards and not using cash we have to do a lot of education. BlockChain is not about dissruption it’s about enablement,” he said.

Credits UK is a BlockChain platform provider supplying distributed ledger technology software and cloud-based services with tools for building secure and scalable blockchains to power enterprise and public sector applications.

“TBC is strategically focused on development of the retail segment,” said Nino Masurashvili, Deputy CEO Retail and SME Banking TBC Bank Georgia. “30 percent of our bank customers are heavily using internet and mobile banking services, with 7 percent using mobile banking only. We are working with Visa to bring new and innovative solutions to the market and to be effective.”

One such joint product, to be released in 2017, is a mobile wallet.

“We understood that focusing on multichanel, internet and mobile banking was not enough- why limit customers to mobile and internet banking when it’s so easy to use popular applications like WhatsUp or Viber? In the future we plan to offer new services in that direction, too,” Masurashvili said, underlining the importance of investing in digital products.

Nino Gugunishvili

21 November 2016 17:59