The FINANCIAL — VTB Bank Georgia has enabled its customers to make quick, convenient and safe payments just with their mobile phones. The Bank is the first in Georgia and the Caucasus to have launched Visa cloud-based mobile payment service. The management of VTB Bank Georgia has said that a new era of payments based on digital technologies is coming up, and that it plans to support it. Over 20-25% of the Bank’s consumers are currently making cashless payments. The Bank plans to increase this share to 50% in three years’ time.
“Cash transactions are decreasing on an annual basis. On the other hand, non-cash payments are boosting. In terms of non-cash operations we see the future in virtual cards, based on NFC technologies. A new era of payments based on digital technologies is coming up. It means that our mobile devices will be the only thing which we will need for payment not only in our home country but overseas. It simplifies life. There is no longer a necessity for pasting stickers or carrying plastic cards. The development of this technology will contribute to the reduction of cash transactions,” Valerian Gabunia, Chief Retail Banking Officer at VTB Bank Georgia, told The FINANCIAL.
To use the new service VTB Bank Georgia consumers need to download an issuer-branded payment application for NFC-enabled mobile devices, running on the Android operating system (version 4.4 or later) from the Google Play store. Following a one-time enrolment process, customers will be able to pay in-store with their Visa accounts by waving their Android mobile phone in front of a contactless POS terminal no matter where the purchase is performed – in Georgia or in any other country where Visa payWave payments are accepted. Visa payWave technology is being rolled-out in over 50 countries worldwide.
For transactions above GEL 45 consumers will be using mobile passcodes for verification which offers even more security and convenience while shopping.
“The security system is always crucial when talking about payment systems. In this case it is tripled. It is more secure even in comparison with plastic cards, which can be stolen and used later. While one’s phone can be stolen by another person, the owner is the only person who can make a payment,” said Gabunia.
In Gabunia’s words, currently over 20-25% of the Bank’s customers are making cashless payments. “We are focused on increasing this share by 50% in the next three years. Achieving these results will be good not only for customers and the Bank, but for the whole economy. Cashless transactions are directly linked to transparency.”
“The volume of cash transactions in other developing countries, like Georgia, is higher. Georgia is very open to technological innovations. There is still a number of people who are used to having direct, physical contact with money. However, this number is reducing year by year. It is a matter of time,” he added.
“Georgia is among the leaders in the CEMEA region on embracing contactless payments. The convenience and speed of Visa payWave has become a natural way for consumers to pay for everyday purchases by improving the shopping experience for Visa cardholders and retailers alike,” said Irina Kamkhadze, Visa Country Manager for the Caucasus region.
“One’s mobile phone is a life companion and Visa Cloud-Based Payments unlock more options for the banks to innovate by combining mobile devices with payment tools, contributing to a boost in electronic payments by replacing cash and thus paving the way for more rapid uptake of mobile commerce services for the convenience and engagement in the shopping experience of Visa cardholders,” Kamkhadze said.
According to Gabunia, the example of western countries clearly shows that the future lies in a cashless economy. “Georgia is also following this trend, although at a slightly lower speed. We need time to enhance consumers’ awareness that it is better for cash to circulate in the economy in order to bring bigger profits.”
“I am sure that consumers will rapidly embrace our new service. Currently VTB Bank Georgia is one step ahead of the market. NFC is the future of payments and we will actively support this system,” Gabunia said.
“Over 70% of Georgians have Android devices. That is the reason why we decided to develop our innovative service on an Android platform. Apple phone holders will be offered payment stickers,” Gabunia told The FINANCIAL.