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Mastercard launches campaign to expand card payment among SMEs

Ljubljana, 10 February - Mastercard has launched an initiative with which it aims to encourage as many small businesses in Slovenia as possible to make a transition to digital payment methods. A total of one million euro will be available to selected participants in the next three years.

Ljubljana
An online event hosted by Mastercard to present innovative solutions in digital payments for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Photo: STA

The project, called Eight and running under the slogan Every Device May Become a POS Terminal, aims to facilitate the development of POS terminal solutions adjusted for mobile devices.

It encourages small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs to transition to digital payment methods, Endre Eölyüs, the country manager for Hungary and Slovenia at Mastercard, said at Wednesday's online event co-hosted by the STA.

Interested companies have until 5 March to apply and the selection of candidates will be made at the beginning of April, followed by the signing of contracts.

According to Eölyüs, Mastercard has decided to invest in the Slovenian digital industry as the company believes that sooner or later every person would become a seller, and every device would become a POS terminal.

Branko Meh, the president of the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS), said that digital payment was on the rise due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and welcomed the initiative.

"As craftspersons and entrepreneurs have digitalised their activities, they also need to adjust payment to this trend. For this reason, it seems important for me to increase the use of POS terminals," he added.

Boris Turk, the head of business development in Mastercard Slovenia, noted that the infrastructure for card payment in Slovenia lagged behind the EU average.

"The number of points of sale enabling card payment and the number of POS terminals has not grown significantly in recent years, and the low expected growth indicated the need for an outside intervention," he explained.

Almost three-quarters of Slovenian SMEs do not accept cards and there are major differences region-wise. The share in Ljubljana is high, while there are opportunities for growth in rural areas and in suburbs.

"The high price of entry is the biggest obstacle in introducing card payment," said Turk, who expects that the project will result in thousands of points of sale being equipped with POS terminals.

Eölyüs added that Slovenia could catch up with the EU average in a few years, and the number of POS terminals could increase by at least ten thousand, if SMEs decided that their smart phones or smart watches could become POS terminals.

zm/ep
© STA, 2021