Mario Shiliashki, CEO of EMEA at PayU, discusses how the payment service provider enables secure, borderless and convenient payment options to consumers and merchants around the world.
Naspers-owned PayU, a payment technology provider for online merchants established in 2002, processes around 1.2mn transactions every day and has established itself as a leading financial services provider worldwide. Serving merchants across the entire ecommerce spectrum, PayU specialises in simplifying cross-border payments with its easily integrable PayU Hub, which connects enterprises to 18 markets and over 250 payment methods. Across those markets, which include Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, PayU facilitates payments for around 2.3bn consumers.
Mario Shiliashki, CEO for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region at PayU, highlights Central and Eastern Europe as a particular hotspot for demand for cross-border payments. As a collection of smaller markets where businesses and consumers alike are more likely to engage in cross-border trade, PayU understands the importance of having accessible, functional and reliable payment infrastructure in place. “The interesting thing about Europe is that, even if you’re an SME, you’re thinking about opportunities beyond your local market,” says Shiliashki. “We offer these merchants a single plug-in, a single connection to our platforms, that allows them to accept payments across Europe in each of their relevant markets.” Shiliashki notes that the spectre of establishing secure and efficient payments can be a daunting one for SMEs, but notes that PayU’s solutions are more than capable of assuaging those fears. “We help them to navigate the paymentscape and the relevant legal and compliance frameworks, whilst simultaneously optimising their ability to accept as many relevant payment methods as possible in their expansion markets,” he adds. “It’s making it much easier for small businesses to expand into new markets. Once they integrate, they’re able to simply switch to local payment methods as they expand into new geographies. I think it’s one of those unique value propositions that we’ve built at PayU, and one which we continue to expand out and strengthen as we add new payment methods in our markets.”
This ability to provide such services through a single plug-in, the PayU hub, is unique in the firm’s operational markets, and sets PayU apart not only as a facilitator of cross-border trade, but as a convenient one. “We don’t have a single platform,” Shiliashki explains. “We instead rely on the fact that we have multiple technology platforms across our geographies over which we have our consolidation layer, the PayU hub.” Striving for a level of universality with its payments offering, PayU partners with organisations around the world to ensure it can provide the best local offerings as well as intermarket solutions. “Our model is based on partnerships, and we aim to partner with each and every bank in every one of our countries to ensure that we truly can provide the best offering to both local merchants, and international merchants who are looking to expand.”
Shiliashki stresses the value of these partnerships as being vital to success, symbiotically enabling enterprises whilst driving business for the financial institutions with whom they collaborate. Every partnership ultimately builds towards one of PayU’s key aims, which Shiliashki outlines as: “To say we truly can serve your payments needs anywhere in the world.” With a strong sense of advancement and a focus on innovation, Shiliashki highlights PayU’s endeavours to augment consumers’ payments with additional financing options. “Around the world, we increasingly partner with both banks and independent financial institutions to enable consumer credit options,” he says. “We partner with a number of players in various markets around the world to be able to provide a seamless buy now, pay later checkout experience.” Shiliashki adds that the company is also exploring merchant credit options as well, broadening the scope of its offering even further.
Looking at the financial services industry from an even higher level, Shiliashki notes the new open banking infrastructure in Europe as a result of Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), as a particularly disruptive industry shift. This advancement of the original legislative framework of PSD seeks to advocate the rise of fintech firms by enabling them to engage directly with consumers in the same manner as big banks. With a customer’s permission, payment solution providers and merchants can access their account data directly, streamlining the process by removing the necessity for intermediary payment services such as Visa and PayPal. “I think it will absolutely transform the world of banking,” he says, “but also the world of payments. We will have faster, more seamless access to consumers’ bank accounts. The key there is going to be making sure that all the measures are in place for that to be secure and for the consumer to have full control of who has access to their accounts.”
Shiliashki says there has been a considerable shift in recent years towards convenience backed up by security, gradually eroding the traditional friction experienced between achieving both ideals in a transaction without sacrificing part of the other. Investing in better, faster ways to identify customers at the point of payment, through technologies such as biometric authentication, data analytics, machine learning and fraud detection, has enabled PayU to remain at the forefront of marrying payment convenience with security. “We have partnered with Feedzai, a leader in fraud detection technology and risk management, who have helped us to enable our systems to detect fraudulent actions before they even happen,” says Shiliashki. “Consumers and merchants can feel secure in the knowledge that if a transaction’s approved then it’s good.”