Year in review: the main trends of the Ukrainian fintech business in 2019

Last year I wrote about the main results of the fintech industry on my blog for the first time. Earlier I was skeptical about such articles: companies are trying to catch some attention to themselves, and some fintech figures wants to express their own expertise with minimal time and digging into the topic. However, a year later I realized how useful a general review of the year could be for personal systematization. What I saw was important for LeoGaming brand, what I planned to do on it in the new year, what was really implemented and how effective it turned out.

That is why I don’t want to neglect such a format. Even more — already in the first days of December it’s clear which main trends have shaped financial services in Ukraine over the past year. In this article I’ll go over them as briefly as possible and will indicate what specific benefits they have brought.

The most obvious trend has migrated from 2018. Of course, we’re talking about the popularization of Apple Pay and Google Pay in retail and online payments. And the trend-forming essence lies far from the surface.

Speaking of offline, the value of Apple Pay and Google Pay mobile wallets is not only in the simple «put your phone to the terminal so you don’t need to look for you card in pockets or bag». Yes, it’s convenient that you can generally keep the card at home, and pay only by smartphone. This is a constant increase in the share of contactless terminals for payment of retail outlets. There are already 90% of them in Ukraine, which means achieving full coverage is a matter of one or two years.

Strongly connected with the previous trend, precisely thanks to the mentioned wallets. Ukraine is in the top 10 in the global statistics of Mastercard, and this is great news for many reasons. Firstly, it shows new markets can become real industry leaders for the development of fintech services –with strong local companies. I have repeatedly said the strength of Ukraine is that we started the transition to cashless later than many countries. However, we started at the time of the active technological update. Оur payment infrastructure is newer, and payment standards are more modern. And the numbers that Mastercard regularly shares won’t let you lie.

Secondly, a tokenized transaction is much safer, because all payment data is encrypted, not in your hands.

With NFC-wallets many began to «bury» the projects for the development of QR payments — they say, why scan the code, if you can just put the phone. Nevertheless, several large Ukrainian banks (including Privatbank) implemented the function of QR payments at their POS terminals. We did the same in our LeoWallet e-wallet.

The reason for interest in them is simple — not all phones support NFC payments. But almost everyone has smartphones with a camera. This allows business to reach an audience with a less significant average check. But this people also want to use the convenience of cashless payments.

For this, we must thank those who continue to develop electronic money in Ukraine. There are few such companies, and LeoGaming is one of them. Despite the contactless payments I described above, electronic money remains relevant for non-banking customers — those who for some reasons don’t have a bank account, but want to make online payments. The exact number or percentage of customers in Ukraine is not yet available. I won’t give you the numbers — I’ll leave this for the brand’s public communication. But a project with almost no advertising budget at the soft launch stage shows itself very well.

I will definitely tell you about the main forecasts for 2020 — because the results of 2019 are already amazing and inspire to develop even faster.

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