BAKU, Azerbaijan, December 6. MasterCard and the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) aim at expanding cooperation with small and medium-sized businesses, as well as supporting innovative players in financial sector, Avsar Gurdal, General Manager of Mastercard in Azerbaijan and Türkiye, told Trend.
According to Gurdal, digitalization of payments is one of the strategic plans of almost all governments, and, MasterCard implements projects in Azerbaijan aimed at digitalization of the country's economy.
"Cash and control over its circulation create additional costs for the country. By having digital payment options, we increase transparency and tax revenues, as well as simplify the turnover of funds and control over it. Under the document signed with the CBA, it is planned to increase the number of non-cash payment terminals, including in taxis, restaurants as well as in small cafes," he said.
Today, the number of bank cards in Azerbaijan exceeds 12 million (over 70 percent of them are contactless). He expressed hope that cooperation with the Central Bank will result in increase of contactless bank cards number.
He pointed out that the initiatives implemented jointly with the CBA create not only the basis for expanding cooperation with small and medium-sized businesses, but also support innovative players in the financial sector.
Gurdal emphasized that MasterCard supports digitalization of the financial and banking sector of Azerbaijan and is ready to support fintech players with its technological and other solutions.
"Our solutions create secure and efficient environment for financial transactions, as well as facilitate new projects in the market. We have Fintech Express program, within the framework of which we cooperate with fintechs of different countries, including Azerbaijan. In Azerbaijan, we expect the number of fintech projects and players to grow, and we also see the potential for dynamic digitalization of the financial sector. In this regard, we are working closely with the Central Bank and other government agencies," he said.
The general manager noted that there are several reasons for forecasting the growth of fintech projects such as a favorable digital environment, the interest of the country's banks in these projects, the statistics of the growth of non-cash payments as well as the goals of the CBA to increase their share in the total turnover.
Gurdal said that the company's solution to accept cashless payments via cell phone (TapToPhone) in Azerbaijan will be implemented in partnership with all of the country’s banks.
Starting from 2023, micro and small entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan will be able to accept non-cash payments using a mobile phone (smartphone). An entrepreneur, by creating an account at any bank, will be able to accept payments from a smartphone. This project is mainly aimed at business entities in such areas as taxi services, delivery, as well as at the restaurants," he added.
Speaking about the implementation of projects aimed at digitalization of the economy in Azerbaijan, Gurdal said that the figure of cashless turnover in Azerbaijan is planned to reach 60-65 percent of the total turnover in the near future.
"MasterCard has created an opportunity for cardholders to connect to Apple Pay and Google Pay since the launch of these solutions. We also have projects related to accepting cashless payments. Our MasterPass solution has simplified e-commerce in Azerbaijan by creating an opportunity to securely store bank card data for further purchases and payments online," Gurdal said.
MasterCard implemented in Azerbaijan such solutions as 'Cross border send' and 'Money send', which have simplified the card to card or from card to bank account transfers.
"Today, when transferring funds from Azerbaijani MasterCard cards to foreign accounts or cards, the commission that is deducted will be known in advance, and the payment will be delivered within 30 minutes," Gurdal said.