Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 27
By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:
The biggest opportunity for developing cashless payments market in Azerbaijan is concentrated within applying various innovations, says Mandy Lamb, Visa group country manager for CIS and Southeastern European countries.
Technologies and innovations are main part of the support Visa provides to the market, Lamb said in an interview with Trend.
"Consumers are more and more connected and want to rely on their mobile telephones while making transactions," she said. "Therefore, we need to make sure that they can consolidate their plastic cards and their mobile phones, and that they have access points through which they can make their payments. Therefore, technologies and innovations present major part of support we provide to the market."
"The network is also very important, the fact that you can have the same experience here as in another country and that you can have the same rules which are consistent in every country," she added. "So I believe that the biggest opportunity in the market of Azerbaijan is certainly about innovations – moving from the physical plastic cards into digitally issued cards and being able to use it in contactless environment, using mobile payments while purchasing online etc."
Lamb mentioned that Visa is working on similar initiatives within the entire CIS, including Azerbaijan.
"I believe, our company is ready to offer Azerbaijan a number of rules and innovations," she said. "For example, together with our partners we have launched "Zero Liability" policy, which is an example of our global mandate, our global program."
"Thanks to this policy, consumers can feel that they and their cards are very well protected against frauds," Lamb added. "It is very important for us to introduce these kinds of rules and innovations that are relevant for the country."
Lamb added that governments of countries play major part in developing cashless payments, and therefore, Visa actively cooperates with them.
"We actively cooperate with governments of various countries all over the world, as they play a critical role in helping us in expanding of contactless terminals in points of sales, as well as in increasing financial literacy of the population," she said. "We work using the following model – we have a consumer, a merchant, as well as an issuer bank and an acquirer bank. Therefore, we call it the four-party model."
Lamb said that governments, which want to develop cashless economy successfully, must work with all four sides of this model.
"They must work with consumers, raise their literacy, explain advantages of using cards rather than cash and carry out much work around financial literacy," she added. "On the other hand, government can also work with merchants. There are countries, where government issues special mandate that there should be point of sale terminals at each store."
"Such ideas are very important for the government, as well as for Visa to work on the market," she said. "It is also essential to encourage particularly smaller merchants to start accepting cards. Furthermore, from issuer and acquirer side it is important to make sure that cashless payments are beneficial from the tax perspective."
In conclusion, Lamb said all these measures should help the government move out the so-called grey economy, as well as ensure transparent collection of taxes.
According to the data from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, in October 2016, the value of payment card transactions at ATMs and POS terminals was 1.07 billion manats, growing by 4 percent compared to October 2015.
There were about 7.11 million payment card transactions in Azerbaijan in October 2016.
(1.7575 manats = $1 on Dec. 22)
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