A Polish monopoly on mobile payments?

One of the most interesting trips among many undertaken last year was one I made to Poland to chair a roundtable. Sat around the table were representatives of ten of the largest banks in Poland including the head of personal banking at PKO, Bartlomiej Wasiuk, writes Douglas Blakey

One of the most interesting trips among many undertaken last year was one I made to Poland to chair a roundtable. Sat around the table were representatives of ten of the largest banks in Poland including the head of personal banking at PKO, Bartlomiej Wasiuk, writes Douglas Blakey

PKO is the largest bank in Poland by any measure and, despite having the Polish state as its largest shareholder, is notably innovative.

This week alone, PKO is in the news two days running, flagging up its investment in digital banking.

The first story is one that deserves to be followed closely. PKO has teamed up with five other banks – Alior, Bank Millennium, Santander, BRE and ING – to define a common standard for mobile payments.

The fact that a number of banks representing a combined market share of more than 70% have agreed to work together is interesting.

The impact on MasterCard and Visa and how the card issuers respond, will be even more interesting.

The new system will be based on PKO Bank’s IKO app. It is fascinating that PKO is sharing this technology with rival lenders.

Meantime, PKO is also using digital banking to target the under 14s segment of the market. It has rolled out an online account for children enabling them to save their pocket money, top up mobile phone accounts and set personal savings goals.

PKO has good form in terms of the youth segment: its PKO Coffee Account for the youth segment targets students and younger users and can be used to make quick payments at ATMs, POS terminals and online.

I am already looking forward to my next trip to Poland, scheduled for October and catching up with PKO, among others.

Have the card companies anything to fear from the new common mobile payments standard that PKO is driving? What do you think?