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MasterCard to Launch PayPass Payment System in Georgia

01/08/2011 03:38 (996 Day 23:09 minutes ago)



The FINANCIAL -- MasterCard , the global payment solution company, is working actively with Georgian banks to launch MasterCard Mobile Payments to the local market in the next year, according to Mr. Kemal Uyan, Regional Business Development Director for MasterCard South East Europe.



As of the period of June 2011, the number of issued credit and debit cards in Georgia is 3,399,410. That means that almost every adult in Georgia has their own card. The majority of cards are Visa, which exceeds the number of MasterCard cards by more than ten times.

“MasterCard has focused on mobile payments as we believe in the very near future mobile-based card payments will increase rapidly. The banks will be issuing card-based mobile payments using mobile phones,” said Mr. Uyan.

MasterCard has developed mobile based products, services and platforms. These mobile based technologies and platforms are later provided to banks. 

“For NFC we have a service called MOTAPS which enables banks and cardholders to personalize mobile based payments and conduct transactions easily. For remote mobile payments we have another platform which we call Mobile Payment Gateway, it’s actually a platform that the banks and mobile operators can use and leverage existing advanced technologies to conduct remote based mobile payments,” Mr. Uyan explained.

MasterCard, American Multinational Corporation is engaged in the process of payments between the banks of merchants and the card issuing banks or credit unions. The company provides widely-accepted payment card brands including MasterCard , Maestro and Cirrus, serving clients in over 210 countries worldwide. According to Mr. Uyan the company processes 23 billion transactions annually, which represents 160 million transactions per hour. 

In Georgia MasterCard currently works with: Bank of Georgia , TBC Bank , Liberty Bank, Cartu Bank, ProCredit Bank Georgia and TaoPrivatBank.

“We do not currently have an office in Georgia. Our aim is to build a card business in Georgia and to increase the usage of credit, debit and pre-paid cards for people’s everyday lives. We will be supporting local banks in different terms. As for the local presence, whenever it is necessary , it may be evaluated  in the future,” said Mr. Uyan.

Mr. Kemal Uyan is the Regional Business Development Director for MasterCard South East Europe. In this capacity he is responsible for the management of all markets and customer-related activities in the region, including Turkey, Israel and CIS countries.

Previously, Mr. Uyan was Director of Innovation and Operations for MasterCard for more than 10 years, in charge of implementing new technologies across the region. Prior to joining MasterCard , Mr. Uyan served as IT Head & Vice President of major Turkish banks for over 10 years.

“I have been working at MasterCard for more than 12 years. I was responsible for the technology in the past, now I am responsible for the innovative products for business development. As Technology Director I visited Georgian banks and institutions five-six times. Georgia is a very important market for us. We are managing ten countries from European markets of high growth, and Georgia belongs to that region. We believe that the Georgian card market will grow tremendously together with our support. All our colleagues in our Istanbul and Europe offices are regularly supporting Georgian banks and markets in order to develop card-based payments here,” said Mr. Uyan.

Since 2002 MasterCard has offered the contactless payment facility to cardholders. In 2002 the company launched the system in the US and later in 2006, in Europe. The system was first launched in Turkey, where MasterCard issued contactless cards and technologies named PayPass.

As of the period of June 2011, the number of issued debit cards in Georgia reached 2,861,554, from which only 1,245,076 are active. The number of Visa debit cards (1,175,292) is seventeen times larger than MasterCard (69,514).

According to the National Bank of Georgia , as of the period of June 2011 the total number of credit cards in Georgia reached half a million, out of which only 261,869 are active. The number of Visa cards (196,927) is twelve times bigger than MasterCard (17,434).

In June 2011 the number of transactions made by cards consisted of 4,181,770, which equates to 691,482 thousand GEL in total. 


“Firstly we issued our MasterCard Paypass cards in card form and later in other forms, like watches, keyfobs and stickers. All of these devices can be used to make contactless card transactions and bring consumers’ everday life fast and convenient payments.

We have introduced all these new technologies to banks in Georgia and we hope that in the very near future all of these technologies will be presented to consumers. Consumers will appreciate the leverage of having the latest technologies to complete fast and convenient card transactions.

“In the most recent stage of contactless technologies we have introduced mobile payment system NFC in Europe starting from 2009. All mobile payments platforms, technologies, services and products have been proposed to Georgian banks and will very soon be undergoing an implementation stage with Georgian banks.”

In June 2011 the number of internet transactions made by plastic cards reached 255,032 which consisted of 11 million GEL.

In March 2009, the Georgian National Bank registered a record number of internet transactions - 396,438. This consisted of 3,963 thousand GEL.

In March 2011 NBG registered a record volume of internet transactions - 16,907 thousand GEL (264,609 transactions).

There are 1,482 ATMs in Georgia (June 2011).


Q. What will the global trends in electronic payments be in the nearest future?

A. The global trends in electronic payments will be new technological services, flexible solutions for the consumer. While speaking of flexible and convenient solutions we are referring to convenient and safe retail and e-commerce payments solutions.

Recently we implemented MasterCard secure code. Now debit and credit cardholders are able to make secure, fast and convenient internet transactions. Moreover, different payment vehicles are provided to consumers. You will not need to carry your wallet around with you anymore in the future. You will just have your mobile phone, watch or sticker and will be able to travel and make payments via those. Those are the new payment instruments that are available for the usage of consumers who are getting more convenient tools to do card-based transactions which in turn decreases cash-based transactions.

“You will not need to carry your wallet around with you anymore in the future. You will just have your mobile phone, watch or sticker and will be able to travel and make payments via those.”


Q. Please could you predict the future innovative payment systems that will be introduced in Georgia?

A. We are discussing different and alternative payments, services with the banks like having the opportunity to introduce co-brand cards, loyalty schemes, loyalty facilities which will attract consumers to make more and more card-based transactions and shift ATM-based card use to POSbased card usage.

Q. There are speculations about the benefits of MasterCard and Visa in Georgia. Please can you give a proper explanation of the differences between MasterCard and Visa?

A. MasterCard provides flexible solutions based on local requirements. We have to think globally as interoperability is key to MasterCard operation. If you have a card issued by a Georgian bank here and take it to New York or Tokyo you will be able to use your card there too. So whenever you want to conduct MasterCard transaction you should be able to do it. Interoperability is so important which is why we have to think globally.

We need to build a global system, architecture all around the world. The network should support the card payments in all of  the countries we are operating in, but we can also actually customize and build local solutions based on local needs.

MasterCard is very keen on implementing innovative products, new services too and loyalty schemes. All these experiences are actually to be provided to Georgian banks. In Georgia banks will be able to leverage the expertise that we have. Moreover we have dedicated resources for different topics. For example, in our Istanbul office, in regional office, we have dedicated resources to fraud issues, technological issue, operational issues, and business development issues. Moreover, for the new projects we have, apart from managers and finance managers, dedicated resources, product specialists focused on different topics which in turn bring more flexible projects to the banks and consumers. 

Q. Currently two leading Georgian banks - Bank of Georgia and TBC Bank as well as Cartu Bank are developing e-commerce in Georgia. How do you see the future of e-commerce in Georgia and in your opinion, why is this service still not popular in the country?

A. MasterCard proposed a secure based e-commerce transaction method like secure code recently. This will be implemented by all banks over the following years. This will lead to a dramatic increase in e-commerce usage in Georgia but also in all the markets in Europe and around the world.

Five to ten years ago consumers were reluctant to put their card numbers on e-commerce sites. They considered e-commerce transactions insecure. MasterCard technologies and improvements, however, are actually changing the behaviour of consumers. Now everybody is doing e-commerce transactions. People are living quite fast and do not want to wait in queues anymore now that there is a more comfortable ,safe and convenient alternative.

Q. What can MasterCard as well as the banks do for the rapid development of e-commerce in Georgia?

A. In order to increase e-commerce usage banks need to adopt new systems, implement MasterCard SecureCode and different types of products. So all of these different instruments and products are going to increase e-commerce usage and will rapidly develop the market in terms of e-commerce.

Q. It’s expected that partnership with Google Wallet will be essential for MasterCard business. But services such as Google Wallet or PayPal are not available in Georgia. So what will the solution be?

A. Partnership with Google or PayPal are options that MasterCard can actually provide and propose to banks and the markets. However these are not the only services we are actually limited to in the mobile payments space.

We have platforms and services. Whenever Google or any other Mobile payment instrument is available in Georgia, we will be able to support it. This does not mean that we do not have any other solution than Google service in the mobile space. We can actually provide, build and customize infrastructure based on consumer needs and banks’ requirements.

Q. What is the status of MasterCard in Turkey in terms of web-based electronic payments and mobile payments?

A. MasterCard Istanbul office  is operating in high growth European markets and is concentrated on all countries. We are responsible for ten countries including Turkey, Israel, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. These markets are keen on new services, innovative products, and loyalty schemes. We are working with banks to build those services and products, leveraging our experience which we have gained in the other countries we are responsible for.

“Turkey is leading in the advanced technologies in card based payment in Europe and even in the world. We are taking and leveraging this experience gained in Turkey, and bringing these technologies to Georgia.” 

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