Miroslav Vichev to Manager magazine: Our priority is modernising national payment systems
The 14th edition of the only competition of its kind for senior managerial achievements in the country - "Manager of the Year" is currently being held. The names of the top 10 business leaders in Bulgaria for 2021 were announced at a press conference at the end of September, and among them is Mr. Miroslav Vichev, CEO of BORICA AD. Manager magazine asked the 10 finalists from the golden ten to comment on the business environment in the country and to state their predictions for the coming year. You may read what Mr. Vichev shared with the magazine's team in the interview:
- What is the biggest and most important trend in your sector that you see right now?
The financial sector has been developing very dynamically in the last two years. This has been driven on the one hand by new European regulations allowing a more liberal market distribution and on the other, by the need for rapid digitalization and automation of processes in financial institutions. There is no payment service provider in the country where these processes are not already in motion, but we have a long way to go together. The country's entry to the Eurozone, the introduction of open banking and the sharing of customer banking information between different providers, the introduction of instant payments in our country and the associated new digital ways of account-to-account payments between merchants and customers, and the so-called P2P (Person to Person) are all looming on the horizon. The projects are large-scale and concentrated in terms of time, so that the main prerequisites for their success include a stable national payment infrastructure and teamwork of the entire industry.
- Is there a fundamental threat or major challenge facing companies like yours in the year ahead? Where are the threats coming from? What are your plans for managing these challenges?
A key priority in the coming years will be to set up and modernise national payment systems in order to prepare the market for a smooth changeover to the euro. In our role as а national operator, we are committed to providing the necessary functionalities to banks to facilitate their work and speed up processes. There will undoubtedly be challenges. As we enter the Eurozone, we expect the appetite for our market from competing foreign companies to grow. We are working closely with the Bulgarian National Bank - in this context, our big common objective is to preserve Bulgaria's national sovereignty and prevent transactions from leaking outside the country. We are also in the process of building the infrastructure for instant payments, which will allow for European reachability, which means that banks will also be able to process instant payments in euros when switching to the euro. That is the main purpose of our entry into the Eurozone - for customers to make and receive instant payments to and from everyone in Europe.
- What investment programme does your company have in place for next year and what effect do you expect upon its completion? What is your long-term strategy?
Our strategic long-term projects and investments are in three main areas-card business, instant payments and e-services (e-signature and remote identification). Along with offering traditional card services, we are significantly expanding our portfolio of services to banks in the direction of outsourcing-a card management system (CMS SaaS), POS terminal maintenance and service, ATM network monitoring and management, card issuance and personalization, card fraud monitoring and prevention. In terms of e-commerce, we are introducing 3DSecure standards and two-factor authentication, as well as mobile authentication based on biometric characteristics. We aim to offer banks and their customers a modern and competitive product with a high level of security.
In instant payments, our strategy is to provide participants - banks and payment institutions - not only with the infrastructure to execute this type of payments, but also with all the supporting activities and processes that build on the service and help it penetrate the market faster. These include: 24/7 service reachability, risk management (Anti-fraud), Anti-money laundering, central phone-IBAN matching service (Mobile look-up) and last but not least - additional services that provide mobile solutions for customer and merchant, tools for integration with mobile banking and third-party software products, allowing free development of mobile wallets. As a result, we expect a relatively rapid and massive spread of this type of payments among end users, given their undeniable advantages - more profitable service for banks, higher speed, ease of use, the ability to pay only on the basis of a phone number, etc. We predict their penetration into niches where only cash payments have been made so far, which in turn will increase the volume of electronic payments in general.
In the last two years, we have focused on the development of our e-services, adding cloud e-signature and remote e-identification (via web or mobile device) solutions to the familiar e-signature stored on a flash drive or card. This allowed many businesses to continue their operations by digitizing a significant portion of their processes during the pandemic. Onboarding, contracting and servicing new customers was made possible remotely, without having to visit the service provider's office in person. From now on, our efforts will be focused on integrating these solutions in an increasing number of governmental institutions and companies.
Source: Manager magazine