Poland is a country of contradictions. the fintech ecosystem in Poland is developing rapidly and it’s competative compared to other European countries. On the other hand, however, the law isn’t exactly in favour of new developments and there’s not enough government support for startups, it’s hard to get proper funding for tech advancement. FinTech Poland Foundation presented “FinTech in Poland – barriers and opportunities” report at impact’16 fintech/insurtech conference, discussing current Polish fintech market situation.
The report sums up the research carried out by the Foundation, Obserwartorium.biz, and Center for New Technologies law of University of Warsaw. They interviewed 20+ fintechs and 13 Polish banks, did a legal panel, and included bigtech and consulting perspective.
In the report both good and bad sides of Polish fintech are acknowledged. Polish low innovation index is contrasted with modern finance infrastructure. What definitely helps is that Poles are very open to all finance innovations; Poland can set an example for all Europe when it comes to the number of contactless payments, pay-by-link or Blik payments.
It’s important to say that a lot of things happening around fintech in Poland is good. According to Global Financial Centre Index (GFCI) which examine the major financial centres globally in terms of competitiveness, Warsaw places 12 in Europe, and is the leading finance centre in CEE region and with some work it can use its position to become much more than just London’s ‘back-office’. If we take into consideration the upcoming changes in regulations, a new gate for fintech innovations might open soon. Especially since leading finance centres are right now modernising, so there’s a moment for Warsaw to become a more prominent player.
“There’s a few dozen FinTech startups in Poland, which operate in the most important sectors of this market. Most of them are companies offering electronic payments and finance platforms,” says Paweł Widawski from FinTech Poland foundation.
Which is all good. It means there’s market of new innovations and people are open to try them out. According to presented “FinTech in Poland – barriers and opportunities” authors, there are two possible ways Polish fintech can go. It can either develop passively or proactively. Both options assume the growth of the sector, however one more rapid than the other.
Passive scenario says fintech development will remain be developing on its own, without any help from the government or more active help from banking institutions. As the home region will not hold any particular appeal, the UK or Ireland will seem more appealing places for fintech startups.
The other scenario, assumes rapid growth of the fintech ecosystem in Poland and thus making Poland a strong fintech centre. However, that would require some actions to make Poland a more attractive place to open your business. With a friendly regulatory framework and cooperation in the finance ecosystem, it could definitely work.
“A lot of elements need to be implemented to the proactive model work. We need to define coherent and transparent vision of development, taking into consideration all the interested parties,” says Magda Borowik from FinTech Poland.