Visa sees huge potential in Azerbaijani market for innovations - senior director (Interview)

Economy Materials 2 May 2023 14:14 (UTC +04:00)
Visa sees huge potential in Azerbaijani market for innovations - senior director (Interview)
Sadraddin Aghjayev
Sadraddin Aghjayev
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 2. Visa international payment system sees huge potential in the Azerbaijani market for innovations, Senior Director, Regional Manager of Visa in Azerbaijan Nurlan Hajiyev said in an interview with Trend.

In July 2022, Visa appointed Nurlan Hajiyev as Senior Director – Regional Manager of the company in Azerbaijan. In his new position, he focused on developing the digital payments business in the country, focusing on increasing the value of Visa for banks, businesses, and cardholders.

About financial innovations

Hajiyev noted that Visa, jointly with the International Bank of Azerbaijan, launched tokenization [a process by which a piece of sensitive data, such as a credit card number, is replaced by a surrogate value known as a token] for the first time in the country in 2019, which allowed for purchasing through mobile phones.

"Work is underway to increase the number of banks connected to tokenization. Currently, some 11 banks are connected to it. This introduction has allowed us to implement a large number of projects, including launching Apple Pay in 2021 and Google Pay in 2022. Also, Azerbaijan became the first country in the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) to launch the first B2B Connect," he said.

The regional manager noted that the number of banks supporting Apple Pay and Google Pay increased in 2022.

"Moreover, we witnessed the launch of an innovative TapToPhone solution in Azerbaijan, which allows Android phones, not only to pay but also to accept payments. This project was launched for the first time with our partner bank - Kapital Bank," Hajiyev said.

Hajiyev also noted several other important projects:

- The world's first launch of a joint co-branded card of Bank Respublika, Wolt and Visa. With this card, users will receive five percent cashback on delivery orders;
- Accepting payments in ASAN Centers using QR codes to pay for public services;
- Issuance of Visa digital cards by Azercell mobile operator in pilot mode.

About market leadership

According to Hajiyev, the implementation of creative initiatives that guaranteed the simplicity and security of using cards contributed to the dominance of transactions with Visa bank cards in the Azerbaijani market.

"Safety is one of the foundations of innovation. Visa pays great attention to this, and consequently, speed, simplicity, and security are the drivers that we bring to the Azerbaijani market. By implementing projects for accepting bank card payments not only by POS terminals but also by mobile devices, we are increasing our share in the local market," he said.

Hajiyev also said that Visa also has social responsibility by developing, expanding, and simplifying products for all segments and economic entities.

According to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, Visa's share of the total volume of transactions by the end of 2022 was about 60.5 percent.

About transport solutions

The regional director said that Visa is ready to work with all market participants to launch cashless payments in Azerbaijan's transport.

He mentioned that Visa was the first to launch cashless payments in Azerbaijan's railway transport.

"Currently, validators for accepting non-cash payments have been installed in all 14 stations of the Baku suburban railway. In 2022, we also launched the Mobility & Transit Transaction (MTT) technology for the first time in Azerbaijan. The MTT model allows operators to offer passengers a range of flexible fares, including fixed fares, distance, and time-based fares, multi-modal fares, as well as features such as fare capping, benefits, and delay refunds," Hajiyev added.

About supporting women's entrepreneurship

Visa company has expanded She's Next Empowered by Visa, a global initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan.

According to Hajiyev, over 600 women entrepreneurs took part in the initiative in 2022 and two winners received 10,000 manat ($5 882) and 15,000 manat ($8 823) for business development.

"Visa attaches particular importance to supporting women's entrepreneurship both globally and in Azerbaijan. Inclusiveness is a strategy and one of the main activities of Visa. The implementation of this initiative is aimed at supporting women, bringing them the best experience," he said.

The director pointed out that the company will continue to promote the She's Next Empowered by Visa initiative in the future both in Azerbaijan and in the markets of other countries.

.According to him, according to a Visa study, the biggest problem for women entrepreneurs when starting and running a business is attracting capital (45 percent), and 23 percent of them feel high competition.

About new experience and personal space

Nurlan Hajiyev also spoke about his experience in the new position of senior director and regional manager in Azerbaijan. According to him, the position of a regional manager creates additional responsibility for him, both to colleagues and to all market participants.

"I look at the electronic payments industry quite broadly. Money is also evolving, and as it develops, circulation accelerates, which leads to economic growth," he said.

Hajiyev also noted that it is very important to find a line between personal space and work.

"In the modern world, where everything is dynamically developing, it is necessary to keep up with all innovations and keep up with the times. I think it's very important to find the line between personal space and work. Fortunately, I have found this facet, and I am glad that I can spend my time both with my family and doing work that inspires me. I try to devote a lot of time to the financial literacy of my children. Children love everything new and learn very quickly. For example, my son makes non–cash payments using his mobile device, and my daughter, who is younger than him, uses her smartwatch," he said.