You might not believe it but Poland is actually the largest fintech industry in the CEE region. It’s true — it’s worth €856M, and to put things into perspective, the total for the CEE region is €2,2B. What makes us special, then?

There are several reasons for Poland to become the fintech hub in the near future. First of all, our banking sector is strong and innovative, always looking for new solutions and growing through collaboration. Actually, we might be one of a few CEE countries in which banks will cooperate so closely with fintechs. Even now, 44 percent of Polish financial institutions are supported by fintech companies. Experts estimate that by 2023 it will be as many as 64 percent.

Another advantage is Poland’s location right in the heart of Europe. This, alongside our membership in the European Union, are great entry points to EU’s internal market of financial services.

Last but not least is our educational and skill-development offer. Starting from university courses (such as the new fintech post-graduate programme at the University of Warsaw, which we talked about in a recent post) to courses organised by corporations, there’s a lot to choose from! And let’s not forget the numerous industry events happening all throughout the year, with experts from all around the world and government representatives. It’s thanks to these opportunities Poland is well-known for its IT experts and successful entrepreneurs.

Digital payments make an especially prospective market segment for fintech startups. This is thanks to the fact that both Polish banks and consumers are keen on adopting the latest technologies, such as mobile contactless payments, instant money transfers or biometrics. In fact, Poland is a worldwide leader in contactless transactions, with 8 out of 10 card payments effected this way, as per the mos recent reports. This makes the testing ground for this area of payments particularly interesting for fintechs, making Poland a natural candidate for a fintech hub.  

It’s no wonder, then, that world’s giants see our country as a great place to invest time and effort in. For example, Mastercard is a strategic partner of The Heart, an organisation facilitating collaboration between big corporations and startups. The two organisations will also operate the Polish FSA’s regulatory sandbox, designed to nurture promising fintechs by alleviating regular licensing requirements.

Recently, Mastercard has also announced the launch of Accelerate, a platform specifically aimed at fintech companies and the new generation of digital banks to help them scale and expand to new markets.

What can the participants expect? First of all, an unlimited access to Mastercard’s practical knowledge and resources for data processing.

“The creation of Accelerate is the next step in our long-term journey towards becoming the preferred partner for fintech companies,” said Ann Cairns, Vice President Mastercard. “This global community is one of the biggest and most dynamic and we at Mastercard want to help it unleash its full potential. Our experience in supporting financial services spans over half a century, so we are very well prepared to help fintech companies achieve their most ambitious plans.”

But to grow, fintech startups need not only proven corporate partners but also a safe, well-defined market environment. This poses a challenge in the wake of open banking, born as a result of PSD2 regulations. This new concept promotes an ecosystem where banks and fintechs cooperate to provide clients with even better, digital, personalised services. To ensure that the whole ecosystem functions properly, a number of problems must be solved. This concerns issues of trust between business partners, the safety and security of sensitive client data and creating seamless experiences for end users.

To help tackle these challenges, Mastercard is launching a set of new services supporting the cooperation between banks and third party providers (TPPs) within the open banking ecosystem, such as a European database of TPPs, a fraud detection system, a dispute settlement system or an API connectivity hub — a tool for communication between banks and TPPs. The pilot programme will start at the beginning of 2019 in Poland and the UK. At the end of 2019, it’s should be available for all European countries.

With such perspectives, the future of digital banking looks brighter with every day.

If you want to hear more news, how about a trip to Łódź on November 28th and 29th? Impact fintech’18, of which Mastercard is a Strategic Partner, will bring together over 150 experts from all around the world to discuss the hottest issues from the world of fintech. Special guests, such as Teresa Czerwińska, Bettina Warburg, Adam Kostrzewa, Jason Lane or Drew Propson, among many others, lectures and workshops… You won’t have a chance to get bored — save the date and register now!