Are all payment gateways made equal? Many webshop owners still think that the only relevant differentiator is the price point (i.e., merchant fee), but innovation has been transforming the payment industry. Róbert Kulcsár, CEO and founder at Shoprenter, sat down for a chat with our very own CEO, Alex Kiss, to unpack the beginnings of Barion, current expansion tactics, and how merchants can boost their conversion with its products.
Established as a spin-off company back in 2015, Barion has grown to become a power to be reckoned with. As of today, there are almost 14,000 merchants using Barion for processing payments out of which roughly 11,000 are Hungarian partners while the rest come from other CEE countries like Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Although expanding to other markets like Romania and Poland isn’t off the table, the first steps had to be made in countries where it was certain that Barion can find the right clients: “When a larger enterprise sets up shop in our region, the Czech Republic is almost always included. And since we want to provide our services to them, it was an obvious choice to make Barion available for the Czechs as well. Not to mention that this country has the highest amount of webshops in our region, making it a lucrative investment for anyone in our niche” says Kiss.
E-commerce, just like in any other region, is constantly being pushed forward by relentless innovation, and Barion takes a major role in these developments.
“BNPL (Buy now, pay later) could be an interesting area to explore, but when it comes to Hungary, its digital wallets that we need to talk about. Currently, about 25-30% of payments are made via digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Barion Wallet in Western Europe. Merchants love it – as they should. Conversion rates via these digital wallets are much higher compared to other payment methods. And even though this should be common knowledge, the Hungarian adoption rate still lags behind with around 5-10% of people choosing this payment method as we speak” wraps up Kiss.
Like several other e-money issuing institutions, Barion’s vision is to build a society where cash is mostly if not entirely absent from our daily lives. Looking around in Europe, there are different stages of adoption, of course: “The UK and the Nordic states are clearly ahead of their game, with hard cash being less and less circulated. In some countries, cash payments are so insignificant that they aren’t even listed in payment statistics. Southern Europe, on the other hand, is pretty much the opposite. I think this might have something to do with how white/grey a given country’s economy is. Obviously, the ”whiter” it is, the easier it is for digital payments to flourish” adds Kiss.
Tune in for the full interview in Hungarian here: