The first full-fledged mobile payment solution was launched in Romania in 2018. BT Pay, delivered in January 2018 by Banca Transilvania, is an Android digital wallet that allows BT clients to enroll their cards in the app and pay with the smartphones via NFC.
Being the first to land a digital wallet and taking advantage of the leading position in the Romanian banking system, BT Pay reached over 1 million people to date.
Another milestone in the mobile payment journey was the introduction of Apple Pay, in June 2019. Seven financial institutions joined in the first phase and started offering the mobile payment solution on Apple devices.
Finally, in November 2020, Google Pay came into Romania and struck a deal with 7 banks and fintechs.
Samsung Pay, one of the global digital wallets, is yet to launch its solution in Romania, even though the Korean tech giant is the local and global smartphone leader.
What’s the bigger picture in the mobile payment market?
While waiting for Apple Pay and Google Pay, some banks and fintechs developed their own Android digital wallets. Because of this, Google Pay might have a lower adoption rate in Romania.
Banks like ING or Banca Transilvania could nudge users to choose ING Pay or BT Pay, yet this will not be an official strategy.
Also, 8 banks and fintechs offer mobile payment solutions on wearables (Fitbit or Garmin). Though few users demand wearable payments, I think the complete offer is a sign of status in the digital banking rankings.
And having all four global mobile payment solutions (Apple, Google, Garmin & Fitbit) is possible regardless of background. Looking at CEC Bank (a state-owned bank) and Orange Money (a local non-bank financial institution backed by Orange), I could say that where’s a will, there’s a way.
Check out what mobile payment solutions banks & fintechs have to offer in 2021.