Big Leap in Contactless Payments in Poland: POS Transactions Rise 162% YoY

Mobile payments in Poland have taken a giant leap forward in the past few years.

At the forefront of this shift is BLIK, a payment system backed by banks, that’s been driving the growth of digital payments in Poland since its start in 2015.

Recently, the Warsaw-based finance tech company reported a massive 1.2 billion transactions valued at PLN 163.9 billion ($36.68 billion) in 2022. During the same time, BLIK mobile transfers and point-of-sale (POS) payments have seen a whopping increase of 110% and 162% respectively compared to the previous year.

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In a public statement, Dariusz Mazurkiewicz, the boss of Polski Standard Płatności, the company that runs the BLIK mobile payment system, described 2022 as a major year for them. By the end of December, almost 13 million people, around 35% of Poland’s total population, were actively using their service.

On top of making online payments easy, the Polish mobile payments service teamed up with Mastercard to add near field communication (NFC) to several bank apps that use its mobile payments service. Thanks to this, millions of BLIK users can now make contactless payments straight from their Android phones, no need for a debit or credit card.

And the numbers show that Poles are warming up to this tap-and-go feature. According to the report, out of the 228 million BLIK payment transactions recorded at traditional payment terminals in 2022, 70 million of them (30%) were contactless payments.

Mazurkiewicz added that this growing interest in BLIK contactless payments means more people are using this payment method in stores and service centers. Right now, one in five of all BLIK transactions happen at the POS.

While only Android devices can use the contactless feature for now, adding NFC to mobile payments is a big win for BLIK. It puts them ahead of other European payment systems like TWINT in Switzerland or Bizum in Spain, which only offer contactless payments through QR codes.

And with an EU antitrust investigation into Apple Pay in the works, Apple’s exclusive control over iPhone’s NFC payment capacity might not last much longer. This could open the door for other mobile payment systems like BLIK.

Mazurkiewicz believes NFC is a “game-changing technology.” He highlights how the partnership with Mastercard allows BLIK users to use the digital wallet not just in Europe, but anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted. As the report pointed out, contactless BLIK has been used to make payments in 117 countries across six continents since its launch in 2021.

In another strategic move, BLIK recently joined forces with Ukrainian digital bank Mono. Mono plans to release a new digital banking app in Poland under the Stereo brand, targeting the over 9 million Ukrainian refugees in Poland. This new app will enable them to handle their Polish zloty through an app in Ukrainian. It will also include a feature for sending money across borders, so users in Poland can send money back to Ukraine.

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BLIK has also stepped beyond Polish borders by buying Slovakian mobile transaction service provider VIAMO in August last year. Mazurkiewicz saw this move as a vital step to strengthen their presence in the region. He believes this market holds huge potential, especially considering their plans for the euro area.

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