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Banking 4.0 interviews: The journey of BLIK in Poland; how to get 28 million customers in less than 10 years

24 mai 2024

We open the series of Banking 4.0 interviews with BLIK CEO Dariusz Mazurkiewicz. An interview about the incredible performances that can be achieved when actors in the system understand that a better outcome and the future success require joining efforts in doing something together, not solitary adventures with endless investments.

The business perspective

The BLIK mobile payment solution was launched on the market almost 10 years ago in February 2015, „with the strategic aim to create a payment standard and a payment system with a specific banking alliance, the first six largest Polish banks (Alior Bank, Bank Millennium, Santander Bank Polska, ING Bank Śląski, mBank, PKO Bank Polski) covering around 60% of the mobile retail banking market share” – as Darius Mazurkiewicz explained. Subsequently, in April 2020 Mastercard also joined the original shareholders.

He added: „Trying to come up with a simple answer that would be to provide a local proprietary solution that will be extremely competitive against entrance from outside especially BIGtechs. This strategic need was simply to preserve and really to protect the relationship between the customer and the bank. Because third party solutions are destructing customers from this relationship with a bank. In order to guarantee a trust and credibility, a long-term perspective between a bank and the customer it was a really significant need to provide a payment solution that would be fully independent of global solutions, global schemes, global BIGtechs.”

Also, he agreed that there has always been a lack of user experience, a lack of fast secure and very convenient solution for customers. „I remember at that time we were principally confronted with the card solutions, mainly chip & PIN. It was the very initial phase of contactless technology.”

Challenging initiative – main obstacles in launching BLIK

Legislation, technology or simply convincing banks? „A little bit of all. When we were launching the solution, it was still pre PSD2 era. We were entering the PSD2. I do remember consulting the technical standards for PSD2. Later on, the legislation was changing all the time.

Convincing banks, definitely important. But considering that the solution is really strengthening the relationship between the bank and the customer we didn’t really have a lot of difficulties to convince banks. It was just a matter of resources, integration, and implementation within the banking ecosystem.”

But the most important challenge is of course to convince large audience, a very important market share of customers, just to use the solution. In order to do it, as a payment scheme, as a payment system, payment platform, you must really offer very clear value-added services that would be really attractive to customers.”

Level of adoption & next steps

Currently all 20 banks in the country are offering BLIK in their mobile banking applications. „The number of applications available for customers right now is achieving 28 million. So, we would say that the whole population of mobile banking users in our country has BLIK at the disposal of the mobile banking application.” said the company’s CEO.

BLIK ended 2023 with 16 million active users in Poland who generates 1,9 billion of transactions. More or less 60% of all of these transactions consist of ecommerce transactions.

And even more, 70% of Polish ecommerce transactions are just simply BLIK transactions. 7 transactions out of 10 is made with BLIK in the market, the missing three partially traditional card transaction, maybe some A2A open API, PSD2 type of open banking transactions and some of them are old fashioned paid by links, probably some of them are cash payments as well.” explained the BLIK representative.

BLIK ended last year with 16 million active users and almost 2 billion in transactions.

What are the expectations for this year? „We are planning to do at least 50-60 % more.” concludes Dariusz Mazurkiewicz.

In Q1 2024, BLIK recorded a significant increase of nearly 40% in the number of transactions compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 518 million operations worth PLN 73.9 billion (17.1 bn EUR). At the end of March, 16.3 million users were actively using the solution.

Our ambitious plans include not only Poland but also the Slovak and Romanian markets, where we are continuing to work on introducing BLIK capabilities. We hope that soon we will be able to present further results of our actions.

BLIK Romania is currently waiting for approval from the National Bank of Romania. After completing all formalities, „we will take all necessary steps to make it available to your bank”.

Watch the interview to see all the details

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Over half a billion BLIK transactions and 16.3 million active users in Q1 2024

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In 23 septembrie 2019, BNR a anuntat infiintarea unui Fintech Innovation Hub pentru a sustine inovatia in domeniul serviciilor financiare si de plata. In acest sens, care credeti ca ar trebui sa fie urmatorul pas al bancii centrale?