Polish love their banks

from Warsaw

Warsaw is grey this time of the year, calm and a bit nostalgic. I always liked Polish banks, their stylish design and hands-on approach. Among EU banks — Polish are my personal favourite.

At the first glance Poland is just an ordinary EU country. Everything is so well with the bank
card acceptance everywhere, contactless support everywhere (here you go ApplePay, GooglePay) — little remains to talk about. I earned for stories to tell later, but 

‘- Cash? — okay

– Bank card? — no problem

– ApplePay? — sure

– Only euro? — that’ll do!’.

Everything is so perfect that it is boring, frankly speaking.

That is until you look into the online payments direction. Historically, in most countries offline and online payments are two very different
industries with its own specifics, leaders, competition rules, etc. In offline sphere it is usually banks that sell acquiring and PoS terminals to the retailers.

In online payments the regulation is usually benevolent to various types of financial instruments, so you might see payment aggregators leading over banks for bank cards, e-wallet operators or something completely different.

In Poland it is still the same online payment aggregators — Przelewy24PayUDotPay and Tpay,
that I remember from 6 years ago. But one thing has changed, and changed dramatically.

Now everyone is actually in love with Blik and that became
the second most popular payment method for online purchases after cards.

Blik is described as being ‘like ApplePay’, but in fact it is basically an one-time password system per each order, issued by your bank. Blik is neither a wallet, nor an independent app, it is a feature, a button, you may say, inside your
own mobile banking app. The payment process does not actually take place on the website, once you have got your order, you are expected to enter Blik code in to finish. Where you get that code? Inside your mobile banking app.

from Blik website

Any banking app, you ask? Well, most of them. There are 13 participating banks, covering about 70% of the market. And actually 28%
of all operations in those banking apps now belong to Blik function
. How did this happen, you ask? How did some start-up convince banks to integrate them inside and completely destroy the familiar redirect payment flow?

Well, Blik was founded by the banks themselves, its operator — Polish Payment Standard Ltd is the name of the joint venture, founded by the banks, and endowed by the Polish Central Bank with this function.

You get it now? Banks have united to not only safeguard themselves from the unnecessary online payments competitors, drop Visa and MasterCard out of the process, but to get way ahead of themselves to introduce the truly innovative mobile payment scenario,
equally well-performed from any device. The process is fast, no need to enter card data, or log into the banking. Ask code, get code, enter code — done. Additionally, this system allowed them to offer ATM withdrawals with card, payment in offline without card.
And to keep their users to themselves. Loyal, loving their banks, and shifting from card payments to Blik
payments directly with their bank account.

It has been up for a year now. Amazed to see things develop further.


Anna Kuzmina is the deputy Chief Commercial Officer at Yandex.Money, one of the leading fintech companies of Russian origin, operating both b2c and b2b financial
services. Follow Anna on YoutubeTwitterMediumTelegram или Яндекс.Дзене.

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