PayU are the leading payment service provider within fast growing countries such as Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, India and Africa all of which are also main targets for digital currency and Blockchain based application companies.
I had the opportunity to get a talk with the co-founder and head of global sales Martin Schrimpff during Money2020 Europe in Copenhagen, and was intrigued by his views on bitcoin and the Blockchain, even though the company haven’t adopted usage of them yet, they are watching, understand it and are ready to make the transition when they feel the timing is right.
PayU are by no means a new company in the payment service industry having been established 14 years ago in 2002 and insisting on having a presence in all 16 countries they operate in with offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.
These markets represent a potential consumer base of over 2.2 billion people and the company now counts more than 1,400 payment specialists constantly working to exceed PayU’s 160,000 merchants such as Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Groupon, Adidas, Sony, KFC, Starbucks, Virgin Mobile and Pizza Hut to name but a few as well as their millions of buyers.
Mr Schrimpff believes a big part of PayU’s success is that they have a local presence in all areas they operate in which gives them an insight into what regional customers really want.
They see the locations they operate in as emerging countries and e-commerce growth in these markets are two times bigger than established regions.
Key findings featured in PayU’s overview revealed the smartphone penetration in Asia has 70% of Indian internet sessions being made using a smartphone, the high growth of e-commerce in Africa showed more than 65% of Nigerian internet users shopping online although cash is still king in Latin America with 50% of all payments made through PayU in Mexico and Argentina still in fiat.
Overall they see a strong shift towards smartphone based transactions and are building off their local presence and trust to offer smart financial services, starting with lending for consumers and SMBs in credit seeking regions such as India, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
When asked by CoinTelegraph what does he think about the Blockchain technology and does he see how somehow it will impart their market, Mr Schrimpff had this to say:
“I think it possibly will, we are investors in a few companies that are using Blockchain. We believe we are not being closed minded about it and want to see what is going to happen. I think it’s still early days but it is still unclear.”
“On the bitcoin side, I’m a great believer in it as a currency store of value comparative to gold. I still don’t know if as a payment method it makes sense 100% or not. We have had numerous bitcoin companies approach us to integrate on our platform and we are like no merchants are asking for this. The players that have integrated it are seeing very little traction, so we are probably not going to be the first mover when it comes to integrating it as a payment method through our system.”
When asked what would be the driver to start using it Martin said:
“Either merchants or consumers asking for it, if we feel that happens we will do it, but otherwise it’s like putting something there that people aren’t really asking for yet. I think as currencies change dramatically around the world, I believe it’s a nice decentralised currency completely out of any government reach, but do we go around paying with gold when we are purchasing, not necessarily and that’s the thing, comparative to gold there is not much difference.”