Alkiviadis Trigkas: Success does not hide in the name “Fintech” but in a company’s ideas and business plan

Having a long experience in Greece’s bank sector, Alkiviadis Trigkas, CEO of Trilia Paymment, talks to Startupper Mag about the emerging trends of the sector, Fintech and Trilia Payment.

S.M. How much will the landscape change in the field of electronic transactions and digital payments in Greece, because of the new regulations (for example European Union’s guideline about payments, Payment Services Directive 2 or PSD2) and the consequences of the pandemic on consumption and purchasing habits in our country?

A.Triggas: The PSD2 enforcement intended to reinforce competition in the field of payments and the development of upgraded services for the consumers.The changes it has brought in the field of digital payments are many and focus on three key points:

1. The enhancement of security measures and the application of the same regulatory context from all payment service providers .On this level we have all seen changes in the services we use, such as the use of Strong Customer Authentication, especially in the field of electronic transactions, or the use of remote KYC to open a new relationship with a customer.

2. The development and the application of Open Banking from all payment service providers , and on this level consumers have seen changes from its implementation by bank institutions. For example a customer can see the account details he has at all greek banks, at the bank he will choose with the use of APIs. Further use of Open Banking from the providers and APIs’ development, beyond those that PSD2 imposes, has to do with the coverage of the market’s needs and services’ monetization.

3. The introduction of payments in the market at certified third parties AISPs, PISPs. This level, in my opinion is the most important, because it creates conditions for the development of competition on providers’ level and I don’t think we have seen its consequences on the market. In order to see changes which will also change the payment landscape locally, a specific context of services, products and rules should be created and adopted by payment providers and bank institutions.

For the consequences of the pandemic I think that most surveys focus mostly on the rise of electronic purchases.From the last survey of ELTRUN it becomes clear that e-commerce market in Europe reached 717 billion euros and during the first semester of 2020 electronic purchases in Greece “ran” at a positive rate of 171%.

Also, the pandemic accelerated the changes in the field of international payments and in Greece as well, by rising the number of contactless transactions. According to data from MASTERCARD, 93% of card transactions in physical stores are performed contactless.

S.M. Based on your long experience in the financial sector, which are the main trends in the field of electronic payments in Europe? How different are from the trends that prevail in the greek market?

A.Triggas: The main trends in the field of electronic payments in Europe after the pandemic for the consumers, focus mainly on their transition to contactless transactions and “contactless free” transactions, which means transactions through a mobile device. Almost every bank in Greece enables its customers to use their digital wallet through their mobile phone for their transactions.

With the implementation of the strong ID check “Strong Customer Authentication”, which has been applied throughout Europe and in Greece, consumers have already started to become more familiar with the use of their mobile devices and with the electronic transactions.

The trend which I believe will change dramatically the landscape in electronic payments is “instant payments”, that is real-time payments. Banks, especially in Europe, have been investing for several years in real-time payments. The important isuue which will create the dynamics for the adoption of instant payments is the way they will incorporate in customer’s journey, in the physical stores and in electronic transactions.

The main driving force which will help the development of real-time payments is the European PaymentS Initiative (EPI). EPI, among other things, will introduce a new card which will enable shopping in physical stores with real-time transaction clearance. These potentials I think will create a new payment ecosystem and will rise the competition among providers for the benefit of the final customer.

The greek market has been watching closely these changes, but in my opinion is falling behind at the moment. The adoption of real-time payments in Europe from all providers will be a one-way process in Greece.

S.M. In your opinion, what do payment institutions, Fintech companies and Neobanks offer consumers in relation to traditional banks?

A.Triggas: Personally, because I deal with Fintech’s ecosystem in Greece, I believe that success does not hide in the name “fintech” and in a good idea that someone might have, but mostly in the business plan that the company will develop and realize. Especially in Greece, because the market is small, the chances to succeed are limited, if there isn’t a strong business plan.

Nevertheless, there are quite enough successful models abroad and in Greece, which we all know, such as N26, Revolut, Starling and other.In Greece, we have VIVA which as well operates in almost all european countries. All these businesses are found in a period of development and haven’t yet made any profit, but I believe that those which will endure will finally achieve their goals.

What they mostly offer consumers is the use of digital channels through mobile devices, for the provision of their services, such as opening a relationship with the customer, retail services, loans, payments, insurances and cards. Gradually, they acquire bigger and bigger market share.

Their advantage is that they do not carry burdens from the past and their running cost is way smaller than this of the traditional “players.” However, their profitability is non-existent or too small yet.

But we should’t forget that this competition has awaken traditional “players” as well.All banks, each one at its own pace, have started to leverage digital distribution networks and provide corresponding products.

S.M. What is TRILIA NET PAYMENT’s proposal in the field of electronic payments? Where will it focus, on which sectors and how will it connect and support the greek market?

A.Triggas: Trilia was founded in order to operate as a payment institution with authorisation from the Bank of Greece.That’s why we have submitted our authorisation file and we have been waiting the authorisation from the Bank of Greece.The company’s goal is to provide payment services by using moodern technologies and secure computer systems, through an extended network of representatives nationally, which will have more than 1,200 physical spots in the next two years.

Trilia’s intention is, after the authorisation, to develop its services on three levels:

1. The first focuses on Open & Collaborative Banking developing services as Payment Initiator and Account Aggregator in cooperation with technology providers in Greece and abroad.

2. The second focuses on the development of payments and money transfer, in combination with the development and utilization of a physical network all over Greece and the development of digital distribution networks.

3.  The third focuses on the development of services, which promote interconnection with the customer- “customer engagement.”These services include loyalty, notifications, merchant onboarding και KYC, which will develop in cooperation with RBS, the commercial arm and main shareholder of the foundation.

As you can understand, our objective is to create a “Phygital” customer experience. Our goal is through phygital to interconnect online and offline worlds, in order to create a more effective and humane customer experience.

S.M. How can you handle competition from traditional bank institutions?

A.Triggas: Our aim is not to compete the traditional bank institutions but to cooperate!

The ever changing technology and the increasing needs and trends of the global market help companies’ decision to radically change their organisational structure and their transformation.

Nowadays, the entire bank sector talks about transformation programs that it “runs”, in order to correspond to the changes deriving mostly from technology and the changes of consumption conditions.

Trilia believes it can help traditional bank institutions achieve their goals in the context of their digital transformation.

I will give an example to show you that we have been talking about cooperation and not competition. So, in the context of bank institutions’ transformation, banks are withdrawn from specific areas, especially non urban in Greece.In these areas the foundation’s representative network could provide quite enough of the services that a physical store used to offer, bridging the gap that could be created.For example, transactions such as debts payments, withdrawals, money transfer and many more, are some of the transactions that our network could perform on behalf of bank institutions.

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