How Ukrainian mobile providers have come to fintech and are winning in this

Mobile operators and fintech companies seem to be very different ecosystems. But we can say the same about any business. Nevertheless,with total digitalization, any business anyway starts to participate a bit in financial technologies — if it wants to become large and influential in the market and create the best product for its customers. Operators provide a powerful market access with their marketing and distribution capabilities. In emerging economies, mobile penetration is higher than banking penetration, thereby providing telecommunications companies with such an advantage. Therefore, financial solutions from telecom operators are the source of rapid innovation, flexibility, convenience and the necessary technology solutions. That is why in recent years it has successfully penetrated into many spheres that have been existing for more than a decade.

Payment solutions

The pace of today’s life is pushing people to optimize all processes as much as possible, including the payment process. We are already getting out of cards and wallets, absorbing new solutions. And Ukraine is among the top four countries by the number of NFC payments with Mastercard cards.

Consequently, mobile payments are quite in demand. But there isn’t always the opportunity, and maybe the wish to add a card to the phone or application. Moreover, the level of financial inclusion in Ukraine shows that many potential clients don’t have bank cards — mainly due to distrust of banks. In such cases, mobile operators provide solutions.

The “big three” mobile operators in Ukraine have already implemented many projects with the mobile payment function — the so-called “mobile commerce”. People pay for utilities, make p2p transactions, and replenish online games accounts — in short, almost everything that can be done with a bank card.

Mobile payment methods are integrated into many projects of our company. For example, our application called Parking UA. As it was created to pay for parking, this function is suitable for its users: the charge for daily parking is usually not that large. However, in online games replenishment, the average check is much higher, and mobile payments are among the top payment methods in Ukraine.

Own ecosystem as the key to success

Today, mobile operators have made a significant step towards the expansion of the services list. Of course, the sphere is developing greatly and the competition is growing. The latest solutions are needed to retain users and make their customer experience as pleasant as possible. Cashbacks and sales promotions are used to attract customers and increase their loyalty. This is an interesting experience and a good offer from providers.

Definitely, many may ask: who are all these people who pay with a mobile balance instead of a bank card? Mobile operators know exactly who they are, having one of the largest potential customers databases. Each has advanced analytics for making user portraits, creating look-a-like audiences and further targeting. Even an SMS-mailing, written off by many marketers, with proper targeting finds its customer no worse than advertising in social networks. You may not believe this, but the active investments of mobile operators in their payment instruments and the constant growth of payments for our services confirm the opposite.

It will obviously bring about changes in mobile communications consumption in the future. Phone numbers will eventually be linked to a passport — especially those used as a payment instrument. However, this, like any change in regulation, is a necessary sacrifice for progress. And in this process mobile commerce has played and will continue to play a very important role in Ukraine.

CEO of the international payment system LEO, the shareholder of IBOX Bank