Development of cashless payment in Poland
Following the Polish government’s decision to reduce interchange fees which previously among the highest in the EU, the development of cashless payments has accelerated in Poland. Major cash and carry retailers Makro and Selgros each introduced card payments within their Polish outlets during 2013. Eventually, even Biedronka, the leading discounters chain in Poland, decided to allow cashless payments in its outlets. Due to the lower interchange fees for merchants, both independent and chained retailers are increasingly eager to install POS terminals in their outlets. The proliferation of POS terminals is expected to motivate unbanked and underserved Polish people into banking and more modern payment methods.
Mobile revolution in payments is approaching
Throughout 2013 and 2014, numerous large-scale mobile payment schemes were introduced into Poland. Two Polish major banks developed their own systems, while a coalition of the largest banks operating in Poland worked on introducing one universal system called Polski Standard Platnosci. Small payments for bus tickets and parking vouchers are increasingly being made via mobile phones. Major mobile telecommunications operators such as T-Mobile and Orange have introduced their own payments schemes based on NFC modules. Biedronka had begun to accept mobile payments even before it introduced card payments. Mobile payments quickly became popular in Poland, as happened with contactless cards, although the development of a common standard based on NFC technology seems to be essential to the system’s eventual success.
Turnaround in credit cards in Poland
The worst years of strong declines in the number of credit cards in circulation are over in Poland as the country’s banks have finally completed the large-scale withdrawal of unprofitable idle credit cards. Innovative new credits cards are now being introduced. With the Lombard rate set by the NBP at an all-time low, the credit cards on offer are genuinely attractive. Money-back schemes are increasingly considered as the standard option by Polish consumers. Credit cards are gradually posing real competitors to standard revolving loans. Due to the declines recently recorded in interchange fees, several Polish banks are encouraging clients to use the additional functions of their credit cards.
Further reshuffling in the bank industry
The Polish banking industry is still young and vibrant and mergers occur regularly, while new brands are also launched on a regular basis. mBank, a subsidiary of Commerzbank, recently finished a large-scale consolidation and rebranding process, which helped the bank to reinforce its position among major Polish banks. PKO BP is in the process of merging with Nordea Polska, while BNP Paribas is in the process of acquiring BGZ, currently controlled by Rabobank Group. On top of this, telecommunications companies are also entering Poland, with former Invest Bank, which is owned by Plus renamed to Plus Bank. T-Mobile, in cooperation with Alior Bank, has launched T-Mobile Bank Services, formerly Alior Sync, while Orange is working with mBank. The Polish financial system is expanding and both local and global players are expected to compete vigorously during the forecast period.
Cash is set to lose its privileged position in Poland during the forecast period
Poland is finally entering a period of rapid development of cashless payments. Declining interchange fees, the rising popularity of contactless cards and the introduction of mobile payments have all pushed cash payments further into obsolescence. However, as of 2014, cash remains the most common payment method in Poland, and this has led to predictions of a strong decline in its share of overall payments during the forecast period. Changes are expected to emerge due to introduction of new innovative payment systems. The value and volume of card transactions is set to increase rapidly over the forecast period, while the number of new cards in circulation is set to increase modestly.
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