On 30 September, “Fintech Moldova Conference 2022” – the most important event in the field of financial technologies – took place in Chisinau. The conference gathered, on the same platform, more than 270 participants from 60 organizations. The event set the stage for initiating a business dialogue, providing an institutional framework for presenting innovative projects and focused on the role of fintech for financial inclusion in the complicated global context. 30 speakers from Moldova, Romania, UK, Portugal, USA and other countries – experts in the field, authorities, startup founders, local and international investors – took the stage to discuss the fintech regulatory framework in Moldova, the latest trends in the digitization of the financial sector, challenges and opportunities in the fintech market worldwide in the post-pandemic period, as well as innovations in payment systems.
Ștefan Nistor, Founder and Coordinator Fintech Moldova: “For the fourth year in a row, “Fintech Moldova Conference” manages to bring together two of the most important sectors in the Republic of Moldova: Tech and Finance. We are happy to see more and more fintech solutions on the Moldovan market developed by both banks and non-bank providers. We are also happy to see interest from developers from outside the country to participate in the Moldovan market with fintech solutions created and tested in European markets. We have more and more partners from outside Moldova and we aim to make the conference an event of regional importance in the coming years. Fintech has become an important topic in Moldova in the last 4 years, both for traditional financial organisations, authorities and external development partners. This is good for consumers of financial services or products in Moldova who want to benefit from the same experience as consumers in the West, for financial product providers who want to have the best ways to interact and build long relationships with consumers, and for authorities who want to create a competitive environment for the financial sector.”
Digitization of public and financial services has become a priority in the work of the Government of the Republic of Moldova. Iurie Țurcanu, Deputy Prime Minister for Digitization, mentioned in his speech at the event the role of fintech projects, the advantages and benefits that digitization brings to citizens in their interaction with the state. In recent years, with the support of the fintech field, the government’s efforts have been directed towards modernizing government services, launching new digital projects, completing and adjusting the regulatory framework in the field, aspects that ensure the path to a digital transformation of society in the Republic of Moldova.
Iurie Țurcanu, Deputy Prime Minister for Digitization: “We need an alignment of all sectors for our country’s digital agenda. Fintech has always been the most innovative sector, with the resources and capabilities to attract the most innovative specialists. For the Government, this is a necessity, as we want to have the same experience with public services as citizens have when they go to the bank counters.”
In the Republic of Moldova about 75% of citizens have bank cards, but only 20% of them use their card to pay online. This or that, the financial sector is one of the biggest consumers of IT services and facilitating the relationship between these 2 sectors is a priority for the Moldovan Association of ICT Companies. The dialogue has become even more important as the Republic of Moldova has aligned itself with international trends on exploring new technologies and implementing the latest legal initiatives, which are putting more financial services in motion, such as “Open Banking”, “Regulatory Sandbox” and “Instant Payment System”.
Ana Chirița, Director of Strategic Projects ATIC: “Fintech remains a priority for the IT sector, ATIC and Tekwill, because we have seen major changes in the last years in this field in Moldova. There are new businesses that are developing, new solutions, banks that are digitizing, it is the Government that is offering new digital services, including in the area of payments. We tried to bring actors from the public and private sector to the conference to exchange experiences, so that some of them can find new customers for the solutions they are developing. We tried to bring the whole ecosystem together, because they are the ones who are innovating in a technology formula, plus in finance.”
Objectives of the National Bank for the development of the payment industry in Moldova
In order to modernize the payment industry in Moldova, the National Bank of Moldova has announced a series of actions for the next period. Among the development directions is “Instant Payments”, which will be put into operation from February 2024 and will create the premises for the efficient development of innovative payments, including mobile payments, with immediate settlement and the possibility of immediate reuse of funds. The NBM has also prioritized other objectives such as the implementation of “Open Banking”, Moldova’s accession to the SEPA area or the project to modernize the automated interbank payment system (AIPS).
Victor Șușu, Director of the Payment Systems Department of the National Bank of Moldova: “The development of the payment area and the modernization of payment services is one of the basic objectives of the National Bank of Moldova. International experience shows that continuous innovation in the payments field, development of new products and creation of market access opportunities for new competitive players is possible only by ensuring 2 essential conditions: a sound regulatory framework harmonized to international market requirements and a modern, efficient and secure payments infrastructure. In order to ensure these 2 conditions, the NBM is currently implementing the following important projects in the field of payments: implementation of the instant payment scheme; ensuring the necessary prerequisites for the accession of Payment Service Providers to the SEPA area) and implementation of the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and the related regulatory framework.”
Regulatory framework and strategic development
“Fintech Moldova Conference 2022” also brought into discussion the dialogue on the regulatory framework in Moldova, which aims to support modern technologies in the financial market, while maintaining trust and an adequate level of protection for customers. Important regulatory developments and local legal initiatives included “Open Banking”, “Regulatory Sandbox”, “Instant Payment System”, etc.
Eugen Ghilețchi, Head of Financial Sector Reform Component, USAID Institutional and Structural Reforms (MISRA) Program: “Through the USAID MISRA Program, we are working with the National Bank of Moldova and other regulators in the system to identify the optimal models for regulating fintech innovations. This is where thought leaders in the field are brought together, and in this way many ideas are generated that can be put into practice by private actors, by improving their products, or by public actors – by implementing better policies to support this sector.”
Ion Coșuleanu, UNDP Digital Transformation Consultant: “The United Nations Programme is supporting the Government of Moldova in the development of the national digital development strategy, and each of the six major objectives of the strategy is based on fintech, especially as the majority of citizens increasingly prefer digital payments. The strategy will also provide for the need to regulate fintech solutions so that financial technologies can realise their full potential.”
Innovative business development
The conference also provided a retrospective of the startup ecosystem in Moldova. Currently, the Startup Moldova Foundation is tracking 59 startups that are launching a product or service in different fields of activity in an innovative way. Also, during the meeting, 4 fintech startups from Moldova (“Paynet”, “Fagura”, “MyId” and “Trusty Digital”) presented their products in front of 3 foreign investors. The Fintech Accelerator for developers of technological ideas for the financial sector was also launched. The Accelerator will run from November to December and offers participants several benefits, including mentoring and coaching from industry leaders, collaborative workspace at the Fintech HUB, meeting potential customers and investors, etc.
Interested teams can register for the Fintech Accelerator via https://forms.gle/FfEsjUR9iFv6nkyE6.
The Fintech Accelerator is implemented by Tekwill and the Fintech HUB, with the support of partners maib and Mastercard.
The event “Fintech Moldova Conference 2022” was organized by the Fintech Moldova project with the support of USAID under the MISRA project, the Government of Sweden, UNDP Moldova and Tekwill.
Main partners of the event: maib and Mastercard.
Silver partners of the event: DAAC digital, IuteCredit, FintechOS, EFSE, EU4Business, SIBS Romania and QOOBISS.
Bronze partners of the event: Silverbird and Fagura