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PASHA Bank predicts growth of non-traditional financial services players in Azerbaijani market - board member

21 June 2022 [12:26] - TODAY.AZ

By Trend

The need for e-commerce and cashless payment services has increased significantly against the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic, board member of PASHA Bank Jalal Orujov said in an interview with Trend.

He noted that there were certain projects in this direction even before, but the challenges caused as a result of the pandemic required the acceleration of these solutions' introduction.

"Companies have emerged offering innovative solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), as well as service packages that allow accepting and making non-cash payments. In addition, there has been a recent trend in Azerbaijan towards the use of electronic wallets. These solutions mainly represent fintech startups, with banks playing a secondary role as a provider.

Also, in recent years, measures have been taken in Azerbaijan to cover the population with banking services. Today, we can say that most of the country's population is covered by financial services: wages and pension payments are provided through bank cards. I also want to note that the popularity of payments using mobile phones creates opportunities to completely stop the use of the typical plastic cards in the long term," Orujov said.

According to him, a trend towards the development of "Open Banking" (Open Banking) has been observed in Azerbaijan over the last years.

"The lack of an appropriate regulatory framework currently prevents the country's banks from introducing ideas based on Open Banking. Our bank, in particular, and some other financial institutions are doing some work in this direction, but very limited. In fact, Open Banking would contribute to the emergence of new fintech startups that can provide banking services in a different, more convenient format for the client. The positive impact of introducing Open Banking is that banks will not have to work out these solutions themselves.

I believe that this trend will actually develop only after the relevant authorities approve the regulatory standards related to it. The most important thing is that the implementation of this initiative will create competition in the market not only between banks, but also between providers of banking services," Orujov emphasized.

In his opinion, two more trends have gained impetus lately.

"These include the increase in online payments and the use of bank cards not only for cashing out funds, but also for paying for goods and services through POS terminals. PASHA Bank is not very active in consumer lending, but we can say that we have the most developed network of POS terminals. Also, our bank is the largest acquiring bank in Azerbaijan. If we compare the results of 2020 and 2021, then the turnover of non-cash payments in our network amounted to about 1.6 billion manats ($941.1 million) in 2020, and 2.8 billion manats ($1.6 billion) in 2021. The upward trend continues this year as well. Thus, according to the results of the first quarter of this year, the turnover increased by 20 percent," Orujov said.

Orujov said that this summer a contactless payment solution Google Pay will be launched in Azerbaijan, which will allow to make payments using mobile devices running on the Android platform.


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