Artur Turemka, General Director Mastercard Balkans:

Cash Is The Past Mastercard Means Security

Mastercard is a company with experience, technology and know-how that can positively contribute to fight against the grey economy in several regional markets, and the company is supporting its partners in expanding the payment network

We centre all our solutions on a unified customer experience – to enable our cardholders to enjoy safe and easy payments regardless of the time, location, device, channel, or amount of the transaction, says Turemka.

You head Mastercard’s operations for the Balkan countries. How much do individual countries differ when it comes to awareness of the benefits of payment cards?

Balkan countries are at different stages of the cashless evolution, yet all of them share an understanding that electronic payments are the certain road to competitive and sustainable markets. We are talking about a region where 95% of Serbian cardholders hold a debit card; where Montenegro is the seventh country in Europe per the share of contactless payments, while public transport in Belgrade became contactless-enabled in January 2018. Finally, we are talking about a region that is mature enough to test the next generation of innovation, so the first European biometrics trial was successfully conducted in Bulgaria. At the same time, businesses and institutions are increasing awareness about the benefits of electronic payments, such as decreased operational costs and risks for merchants, or better tracking of financial flows on a micro and macro level, i.e., market levels. The grey economy is a priority, so countries are undertaking measures to bring unreported cash into legal, transparent flows. We are proud to have been recognized as a company with the experience and technology that can positively contribute to this fight on several regional markets, and are supporting our partners in the public and private sectors so that each player experiences a full share of the benefits which electronic payments inherently bring.

Balkan countries are at different stages of the cashless evolution, yet all of them share an understanding that electronic payments are the certain road to competitive and sustainable markets

Do the countries of the region give equal treatment to both foreign and domestic payment cards? For instance, what’s the difference between Mastercard and the DINA card?

Our biggest competitor is cash. So essentially both domestic and foreign card schemes are united in building an ecosystem suitable for higher migration to cashless. As a global technology company, Mastercard is able to efficiently translate its worldwide technologies, innovations, and competences onto individual markets and adapt them to the local legal and market framework under which we operate – this global scale and scalability are among our biggest strengths. When you have a regulatory framework that is a level playing field and open to all players, it encourages competition and further innovations. Although a specific market’s combinations of stakeholders, regulations and infrastructure will vary, our business model is flexible enough to allow us to deliver the values of a seamless and secure payment experience to which our cardholders and partners are accustomed to getting from us.

Forbes Magazines has ranked Mastercard among the world’s 100 most innovative companies, due to its leadership in investments in technological innovations. Which advantages does Mastercard offer its regional users?

Global consumers have the same expectations – to get through the check-out quickly, conveniently and fuss-free and have their data secure at any moment. We centre all our solutions on enabling cardholders to enjoy safe and easy payments regardless of the time, location, device, channel and amount of the transaction. The point is that whenever you see a Mastercard logo on your card or the screen of your device – and that’s at over 50 million locations – you know that the payment process is the same, that your payment will be accepted and processed in a blink of an eye, and that your data is safe, secure and exclusively yours.