Polish consumers agree to buy now, pay later

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Six banks and a million customers.

That’s all it took in 2015 to launch BLIK, a mobile payment system in Poland that allows mobile phone users to make payments through online banking.

And after more than six years in business, the company has grown to 20 million app users, with the majority of the 30 banks in Poland offering BLIK’s mobile payment system to customers. The service is used by most Polish retail businesses, including physical stores, and 70-80% of all Polish e-commerce payment volumes are processed through the company system.

“We convinced the whole of society and mobile banking users to start using BLIK as the safest [and] fastest way to pay online with mobile banking apps, ”company CEO Dariusz Mazurkiewicz told PYMNTS in an interview.

He added that it was important to separate BLIK from banks, creating a separate payment brand that does not interfere with the relationship between banks and the payment service providers (PSPs) that provide BLIK as a product to their merchant customers.

“We are outside to orchestrate the whole program and invest a lot of money and effort to strengthen these relationships,” Mazurkiewicz said. “We also hope that this business model is very inclusive, because […] everyone is needed to make our solution a standard in the market.

The company’s recent third-quarter financial results revealed that the bank-owned company currently has 8.6 million active users, or around 23% of Poland’s total population, and BLIK users based on a account carried out nearly 200 million transactions worth nearly 27 billion PLN ($ 6.5 billion) during this period.

Commenting on the results, Mazurkiewicz said Blik is shaping up to be a very well-balanced and strong e-commerce platform, with P2P transfers gaining traction as the company begins its journey with contactless payments.

Part of this next phase of growth will be to replicate BLIK’s success in other markets: “We want to implement our brand and payment solution in different countries. […] prove that our approach can be adopted in other banking sectors, ”he noted.

Partnerships as a strategy against competition

Competition in the mobile payments space is intensifying, and Mazurkiewicz said finding the right partners and partnerships is key to protecting BLIK’s territory.

It is about building strong partnerships with banks to ensure that a standard and consistent solution is offered to all end users, regardless of which banking institution they are associated with.

To further boost customer loyalty, banks in the BLIK network are now providing what Mazurkiewicz has called the “best Android-based contactless payment technology” available in the Polish market, with a user experience “quite similar to that offered by Google. . via Google Pay. “

And because contactless is the “winning technology,” the company has also partnered with credit card giant Mastercard – a current shareholder of BLIK – to expand its global reach and provide customers with a seamless, contactless experience on the go. any payment terminal in the world.

In June of this year, three leading mobile payment providers in the Nordic region – Danish MobilePay, Norwegian Vipps and Finnish company Pivo – agreed to merge their businesses, with the aim of creating “the best and most comprehensive of Europe’s digital wallets’ and one of the largest bank-owned mobile payment providers in the Nordic region.

Read more: Nordic mobile wallets must collaborate to fend off competition from global players

When asked if a similar approach could be taken with other European players, Mazurkiewicz said no strategy would be ruled out when it comes to fending off competition – but he stressed that there would be “exciting” strategies emerging in Europe, with mobile payment companies. in the region competing directly against each other on a global scale.

The time has come for BNPL

As it operates in the e-commerce space, BLIK is committed to helping retailers improve their conversion rates, which can go down due to several factors – a problem with a product, negative customer reviews, or the price of the product. , for example. But according to Mazurkiewicz, most of the time it’s just because customers can’t afford a full upfront payment.

This is why the company is looking to provide a financing solution, such as Buy Now, Pay On Offer (BNPL), which can help meet this growing customer need.

“[BNPL] is a very important part of e-commerce, which interests us a lot at the moment, and we believe that there is a big place for that within [the Polish] market that BLIK can occupy, ”noted Mazurkiewicz.

He acknowledges, however, that BNPL is still at a very early stage of development in Poland, where people are still used to making payments on the spot with debit cards, like other European countries where the debit card market. credit is not very active.

That said, more and more retailers are starting to see its growth potential as customer demand for the solution increases, particularly in the fashion and luxury goods space, Mazurkiewicz noted, adding that being Given the growing competition from global FinTech players entering Poland, it is not the best time for the Polish banking sector to make the jump into BNPL.

As he said, over the next two to five years BNPL has the potential to capture 20-30% of the total value of the Polish share of e-commerce, and “we [BLIK] must play an important role in this competitive space.

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