Fintech Thunes Explains Why Turkey Is Expected to Lead Digital Payments Adoption

From e-wallets to neobanks, Türkiye’s (Turkey) financial institutions are accelerating fintech innovation, supporting greater connectivity to international markets, financial inclusivity at home and more economic prosperity for businesses. Thunes is a key payments player in Turkey’s ecosystem.

Thunes says its extensive payments network in the country “facilitates collections and and payouts to link bank accounts, digital wallets and merchants. Using Thunes’ Pay and Accept network, Turkish consumers can make real-tme, cross-border payouts to banks and conduct transactions using digital vouchers.”

Thunes has an extensive global reach, “facilitating transactions across 130+ countries and supporting 90 currencies and more than 550 digital wallets.”

Currently, they process over 195 million transactions per annum.

By developing a conducive ecosystem for financial innovation, Türkiye has “laid the ground for greater economic prospects for busineses and consumers.”

The value of remittance outflows from Türkiye “reached $731 million in 2022, with $1 billion of inflows in 2023,” according to the World Bank.

Fintech platforms are helping to speed up remittance and “improve the experience.”

These platforms include cross-border solutions “such as Worldline and Isbank, which established a partnership with China-owned Super App, WeChat.”

With the growth of e-commerce, on-demand delivery services and other freelancing platforms, Türkiye has seen “a rise in gig economy workers.”

Some of the major delivery platforms in the country “include on-demand shopping services Kapgel and Getir, which employ freelance couriers to deliver goods to customers.”

While there are no figures on the total gig worker population in Türkiye, “approximately 30 per cent of the population is self-employed, which includes gig workers.”

In 2022, the number of registered gig couriers in Istanbul “is estimated to be around 20,000.”

Türkiye also offers favorable conditions “for digital nomads that work remotely in the country.”

Türkiye’s financial institutions are said to be world leaders in fintech innovation.

In 2006, it became the first country in Europe and the Middle East “to offer contactless credit cards (Mastercard Paypass).”

Türkiye is also among the supporters of instalment-based credit cards; today, over 40 per cent of credit card purchases are made in instalments.

The country’s banks have rapidly “digitized their offerings, resulting in over 91 million active digital banking customers today.”

This transition has resulted in “a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour — around half of them no longer visit bank branches, preferring to rely on just digital banking platforms. Consumer loans distributed via digital channels have also risen, with mobile loans taking up the lion’s share.”

Banks like Garanti BBVA, the country’s second-largest private bank, have also “integrated advanced tools, including AI and data analytics, to provide more personalized customer service.”

While Türkiye’s traditional banks have “been adept at creating a moat through digitalization, they face increasing competition from neobanks and other fintechs, which are touted to be more nimble and offer lower fees.”

The challenge neobanks posed to the incumbents received “a significant boost when Türkiye’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA) launched its digital banking regulation law in 2022, formalizing the beginning of a new era of disruption in the banking sector.”

To date, BRSA has granted digital banking licenses “to five digital banks: Hayat Katılım, Kasa Katılım, T.O.M. Katılım, FUPS Bank, and Ziraat Dinamik.”

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