BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 5
By Sadraddin Aghjayev - Trend:
Visa International Payment Corporation is ready to support the Azerbaijani small and medium businesses in the transition to non-cash payments and the use of financial technologies, Cristina Doros, vice president and regional manager for Central Asia and Azerbaijan at Visa, said in an interview with Trend .
Doros added that the payment services and consumer tools are being actively developed.
“However, the use of payment technologies by businesses has not reached yet the level that Visa expects,” regional manager said.
“Nevertheless, we see huge opportunities in providing businesses with convenient payment technologies for the development of digital payments and the transition to non-cash payments,” Doros said.
Doros said that Azerbaijan ranked first in our CEMEA region (Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia), which includes almost 90 countries, which implemented the Visa B2B Connect solution.
“This non-card solution for big and corporate businesses is working upon the distributed ledger blockchain technologies,” regional manager said.
Doros added that the companies-exporters and companies-importers that conduct cross-border activity are able to make global interbank payments through this solution.
“The process of making such payments has become more convenient, faster and more transparent,” regional manager said.
“We know that it is sometimes difficult to track a payment which is made through a big number of correspondent banks,” Doros said. “The business has a very convenient tool for making such transactions by using Visa B2B Connect.”
“We are very glad that Kapital Bank, our strategic partner in Azerbaijan, became the first bank which rendered this service,” regional manager said.
Doros said that Expressbank has also joined this project today.
“A number of other banks in the country are also expected to join it,” regional manager said.
The regional manager stressed that the use of payment instruments for small and medium businesses is the tool that allows the companies to more efficiently manage their cash flows.
“Visa, in partnership with Azerbaijani banks, provides small and medium businesses with the necessary tools and has also created the Business Offer platform that allows to receive discounts or use various digital tools for small and medium businesses for free,” Doros said.
The regional manager said that the strongest stimulator of the growth of contactless payments is the launch of Apple Pay in Azerbaijan.
“The development of contactless payments is one of the main incentives for the further digitalization of the country's economy,” Doros said.
“We created the opportunity to issue a digital bank card by linking it to a mobile phone,” Doros said. “This became the basis for the development of tokenization in Azerbaijan and the platform on which contactless development was based, in particular, the launch of Apple Pay.”
“I would like to remind that only four banks, the International Bank of Azerbaijan, Kapital Bank, Bank VTB Azerbaijan and Bank Respublika, have launched tokenization in the country since 2019,” the regional manager said.
“Eleven more banks, which are developing this sphere, intend to join this project,” Doros said. “This joint work became the incentive for the development of non-cash payments, in particular, contactless payments throughout the country.”
The regional manager said that this joint work of Azerbaijani banks in partnership with Visa has created a fundamental basis for Apple to consider Azerbaijan as the country for launching the Apple Pay service.
“Another leading trend in the payments industry is digital emission,” Doros said. “Azerbaijani banks have the ability to issue a card in the form of an account, the capabilities of which do not differ from a physical one. Its holder can make purchases, send and receive money via money transfers.”
The regional manager said that another main direction of the development of e-commerce is the cooperation with the Azerbaijani payment services.
“We are actively cooperating with key players in this sphere and focus on providing access to a bigger number of online platforms,” the regional manager said.
Doros said that the creation of an online store expands a businessman’s store throughout the country and even beyond.
“The development of e-commerce will continue to be one of the key spheres for us and we are trying to attract as many small businesses as possible,” regional manager said.
“Despite the difficulties during 2020 associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Visa has been able to achieve very good results and this activity will continue,” Doros added.
The regional manager said that Visa is open to cooperation with Azerbaijan in the field of digital banks and is actively working with its partners in the field of financial technologies, including new start-up projects.
“We work actively with Goldenpay (hesab.az), E-Pul online payment systems,” the regional manager added. “They are actively developing their e-commerce platforms.”
“We plan to launch a big number of marketing campaigns in the future that will be an incentive for Visa cardholders in using their funds on these platforms by getting certain benefits,” the regional manager said.
Doros added that the payment systems are not limited to the development of e-commerce.
“QR payments are also being developed,” the regional manager said. “There can be any payment forms and they are based on convenient, secure Visa technologies.”
Doros stressed that other significant examples of our partnership are the cooperation with digital BirBank, which is part of Kapital Bank, as well as a partnership with Leobank (Unibank digital bank).
“Visa supports all participants and financial institutions of Azerbaijan in the development of digital banks,” Doros said.
The regional manager said that Visa has invested about $9 billion in the development of its information technologies and cybersecurity over the past five years.
“The security of online payments is the fundamental principle of our company,” Doros said. “When we develop solutions, technologies and innovations, we, first of all, think about their security, compliance with the international information security standards and Visa security standards.”
“We will never put a product on the market that has not passed the required safety certification,” the regional manager added. “We take this issue very responsibly and think that innovations are required for the application, rather than for the sake of trends.”
“The company has been able to gain the trust of its partners and Visa card users during 60 years and we will continue to achieve more success in this sphere,” Doros said.
“Moreover, we assist our partners in creating systems of protection, control and monitoring of information and are working together with the banks to build systems of protection against the external and internal threats,” the regional manager said.
Doros added that Azerbaijan’s transport sector is one of the important sectors for promoting Visa projects and the company is open to cooperation with all key players in the Azerbaijani transport sector for the development of joint projects.
“Almost all people use transport,” the regional manager said. “It is possible to feel comfortable in public urban transport and suburban trains through fast and safe fare payments.”
Doros said that moreover, the work of transport operators will be greatly optimized by launching the process of accepting payments through the bank cards.
“It is difficult to manage all these cash flows coming in the form of cash,” the regional manager said. “Transport operators are able to greatly optimize their internal processes and render better services.”
“Moreover, those people who have not previously used contactless payments, will see how easy, clear and convenient it is after they pay for travel this way and will begin to use these cards to pay for services in other spheres,” the regional manager added.
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