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The Warsaw Voice » Business » March 1, 2013
Business & Economy
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E-Commerce Market Grows
March 1, 2013   
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Poland is among the world’s fastest growing e-commerce markets and its electronic payments market is also expanding rapidly.

Last year saw a substantial increase in the popularity of contactless payments. Both the number of proximity cards issued and the number of contactless payments grew rapidly.

Data by bank card organizations and the National Bank of Poland (NBP) show that, at the end of the second half of 2012, Polish consumers held over 12 million proximity cards, up from around 5.8 million a year earlier. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, there were more than 90,000 payment terminals for contactless payments on the Polish market, according to the NBP.

“Among the most important developments last year was the introduction of mobile payments in Poland,” said Tomasz Wejcman, Country Manager Poland at VeriFone Sp. z o.o., a leading company on the payment terminal market. “Poland is unique in Europe in terms of access to infrastructure enabling this form of payments. Most VeriFone terminals delivered for the Polish market can accept proximity card payments and NFC (near field communication) payments. This means they can accept mobile payments, discount coupons, gift cards and other mobile commerce services.”

Insiders say another important development was a debate on interchange fees in Poland. Studies by a working group and government proposals raised awareness of the need to take measures to promote card payments.

Poland is in the lead worldwide in terms of contactless payments—both those made by card and mobile phone. It may soon become one of the leading nations in terms of mobile payments. “After the success of Visa’s contactless payments, Poland became a perfect market for the development of mobile payments and the introduction of the latest Visa payment solutions, such as the V.me by the Visa digital wallet service, which is expected to boost the popularity of Visa cards in e-commerce,” said Małgorzata O’Shaughnessy, vice-president at Visa Europe and director responsible for Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. “Poland will be one of the first five countries in Europe where the service will be introduced.”

Users of the V.me service will gain an opportunity to make online payments with a single click through an internet browser—by means of a smartphone, tablet, PC or laptop and using payment cards from various issuers and in various systems. Thanks to its many security layers, the V.me wallet service is secure and shields card details from online stores. Visa Europe predicts that a third of all European consumers will be using the service by the end of 2020.

Visa managers say that the V.me solution may speed up a revolution on the Polish e-commerce market. “Poland is still a little behind the rest of Europe in terms of this kind of payments. On the British market, for example, more than 20 percent of all Visa payments are already online payments,” said O’Shaughnessy. “In Poland, the figure is only 3 percent. Polish people are very attached to cash payments on receipt of goods, even if they buy online, and to the pay-by-link system, that is direct transfers offered to consumers by banks.”
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