Along with Blik, BNPL payments want to build ING, mBank, Millennium and Santander
The press office of Polski Standard Płatności (operator of the Blik system) has announced that the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIiK, Poland's anti-monopoly office) has given its consent to the company's introduction of deferred payments. Formally, the UOKiK has given a positive assessment to the concentration application, which consists of extending the list of services offered by Blik to include BNPL (buy now, pay later).
It is interesting to note that ING was among the institutions that received clearance for the concentration. Thus, it has completed the list of applicants, which previously included, in addition to Blik, the PSP shareholders mBank, Millennium, Santander and Mastercard. Of the remaining PSP owners, only Alior and PKO BP are missing here. The latter has bet on its own deferred payment solution, which is expected to hit the market as early as this autumn.
On the other hand, you could read about Blik working on a BNPL-type service for the first time on cashless.pl as early as last autumn. After PKO BP announced its plans to make its own service of this type available this spring, Blik's representatives maintained their intention to continue the project and informed of the imminent commencement of product tests. This was to take place before the summer holidays.
UOKiK's approval is another important step in Blik's strategic development. Based on our unique business model and the know-how gained so far, we have the ambition to create a new standard for deferred payments. At the same time, we are betting on the openness of the solution for all market participants - this applies not only to the entities applying to UOKiK in this regard, but also to other banks or settlement agents. We intend to apply the same approach in this regard as in the case of the Blik payment system we manage - so the service will be possible for all organisations that are interested in implementing it. We will soon be able to show off the first results of our cooperation with banks in this regard.
CEO of Polski Standard Płatności (Blik)
When PKO BP announced the start of piloting its own deferred payments in May this year, some experts wondered what Blik would do in this situation. It was known that the company had been developing its BNPL solution for some time. From the fact that until now there was no news on the possible launch of this service and that PKO BP had chosen its own path in this area, one could conclude that the Blik project had collapsed before it was conceived.
Unofficial and unconfirmed information suggests that the delay in the implementation of deferred payments by PSP is the result of a two-fold game played by PKO BP. The bank was to delay its decision to enter this project for a long time, while at the time it was already working on its own solution. This allowed it to go to market with the service before Blik and hope that its almost 9 million customers would allow the bank to build sufficient business scale.
This situation is somewhat reminiscent of another one from a few years ago, when six of the largest banks on the Polish market founded the PSP company and launched Blik. However, Pekao was not among the founders, having chosen its own path in this regard, introducing PeoPay payments. It quickly became apparent that the product offered by PSP had become a market standard in more than just name and that the ambitions of Pekao's former management had led them astray. PeoPay payments, although offered by the second largest bank on the market, had no chance of competing with Blik and soon disappeared, leaving behind only the name that Pekao's mobile app had adopted.
The question therefore arises as to whether, with regard to deferred payments, the situation may repeat itself and the service offered by PKO BP will go down in the history of Polish banking as another failed project. The fact that the group of banks interested in building BNPLs with Blik is growing, as evidenced by ING joining the project, may speak in favour of such a development. Perhaps in the era of rising interest rates and, as they say, more expensive money, retailers will not be able to continue to finance deferred payments (this is what happens today when a buyer does not pay for a service for 30 days) and a traditional bank, with experience in lending, risk management, debt collection, etc., will find itself in this situation better than a fintech such as Blik?