Bank Millennium and Visa: 5 forecasts for the future of consumer finance on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the first payment card in Poland

Bank Millennium and Visa: 5 forecasts for the future of consumer finance on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the first payment card in Poland

30 years ago Bank Millennium (Bank Inicjatyw Gospodarczych at the time), issued the first payment card in Poland, which was a Visa card. During thirty years Poland went from a country with a poorly developed non-cash payment merchant network to one of the global leaders in modern payment solutions.

By 1991 payment cards were long available in the United States or Western Europe, however for the Poles they were a complete novelty. At the time of their debut the cards could be used for paying in some 400 points of sale. By comparison, in 2020 the number of payment terminals in Poland exceeded one million.

The development of technology allowed gradual implementation of new products and services – starting from magnetic stripe cards, through microchip cards, to convenient contactless payments, card payments in online shops (including those made with a single click and subscription ones) as well as biometric verification.

From the market launch of the first payment card, Bank Millennium keeps paving the way for development of digital payments in Poland. One of the bank’s priorities remains the implementation of innovative solutions, which provide customers with fast, convenient and intuitive access to financial services. This year the Bank was acclaimed by the Global Finance magazine as 2021 Innovator in retail banking and in 2020, for its innovative approach to banking, as the best digital consumer bank in Poland.

Innovation is part of Bank Millennium’s DNA; it is one of the most important values of the organisational culture and a competitive advantage from the very start of the Bank’s existence. An excellent example is the fact that the first payment card in Poland was a Visa card issued by Bank Millennium (BIG at the time) in 1991. We were the first to launch many solutions new to the market, such as tokenisation of payment cards based on Visa technology, augmented reality in the mobile app or the opportunity to buy cinema tickets from the level of the bank’s app. We are a leader of open banking – Joao Bras Jorge, Chairman of the Management Board of Bank Millennium, said. – The innovations we are introducing are appreciated by customers and public opinion.

– Visa has always been supporting innovations in payments, this is why we are so pleased that Polish consumers have been using increasingly advanced payment methods – adds Adrian Kurowski, Country Manager at Visa in Poland.

– Paying with a phone or smartwatch is growing in popularity; Poles buy online increasingly often. According to Visa data in December 2020 the number of online transactions with use of Visa cards issued in Poland increased over 20% vs. the same period of 2019. We keep working in Visa on making modern digital payment fast, convenient and secure.

The 30th anniversary of the introduction of the first payment card in Poland is a good opportunity to think about the trends that will dominate the years to come. This is why experts from Bank Millennium and Visa analysed the changes on the market and selected five most important forecasts for the future of consumer finance.

5 most important forecasts for the future of consumer finance

1. Users of financial products are getting younger – development of parent & child services

One of the trends the experts identified are financial services for parents and children. According to a survey carried out by Bank Millennium the average age, at which a child starts to use a smartphone, is about 8 years. Increasingly younger users are also coming into contact with digital financial products. Kids are starting to make small purchases already at the age of 7-8. Meanwhile they start using an account 2-3 years later already. Usually they not only save, but pay with a card, make payments in online games and use the bank’s mobile app. The definite majority of parents, no less than 92%, want to have control over the child’s account and spending.I This is why designing banking services for kids, which will also be a great instrument of financial education, will be increasingly popular. According to a survey carried out for Bank Millennium Foundation, no less that three quarters of the pre-schooler parents are of the opinion that 3-7 years of age, i.e. very early, is the best time to start financial educationII

2. Customer 4.0 – a new generation of consumers

We will also be more and more often speaking of the new customer generation called “customer 4.0”. These are customers extremely well-versed in the world of technology, but also present in the offline world and switching seamlessly between them. They are characterised by taking very thought-through decisions and awareness of the opportunities lying before them. Their needs and expectations evolve very quickly. Customers in this group want to have access to all services in one place and they expect more than just financial services from the bank. Banks can respond to these expectations thanks to open banking and analysis of customer data, which allow designing deeply personalised services, offered where and when the customer needs them. Especially as “customers 4.0” will be comparing in real time the offers and services available in digital channels.

3. Biometrics

In the coming years biometrics will also be developing intensively. Already in 2016 Bank Millennium was the first on the market to introduce in the mobile app the possibility of confirming 3D Secure payments with a fingerprint. What is the prospect for the future? In Bank Millennium’s #finanseprzyszłosci2021 survey more than half of the persons polled agreed with the statement that in 10 years payments with use of a scan of the face, fingerprint or iris will be available in Poland and will be used by the majority of the population. Biometric solutions give many benefits related i.a. to security and convenience – thanks to them consumers do not have to remember many passwords.

4. The invisible bank – financial services and payments embedded in everyday activities

The borderlines, which use to define the use of banking, will be increasingly obliterated. Financial services will be embedded in everyday activities and using them will be even more convenient. The key technologies in case of this trend, are tokenisation and the Internet of things. Thanks to them a scenario, in which a smart refrigerator will itself check the products in it and will place an appropriate order in an online shop in accordance with the consumer’s preferences, is becoming much more realistic. Some of such solutions, embedded in everyday activities, are already available. In 2019 Bank Millennium was the first bank in Poland to launch in its mobile app the service of automatic motorway toll payment. Thanks to this service customers can travel on a motorway without having to stop at the toll gates.

5. Use of financial services coupled with care for the natural environment

Speaking about prospects for the future you must bear in mind the related environmental and climate responsibility. This is why those financial services, which will allow users to protect the environment, will be gaining in importance. From biodegradable cards, cards made from recycled materials, to only virtual payment cards. Reducing the carbon footprint and promoting sustainable consumer behaviour will be increasingly often integrated in consumers’ financial decisions. Almost half of persons polled in Bank Millennium’s survey declared that it is important for them that the payment card is biodegradable, made from recycled material or is in digital format onlyIV


I Survey of parents’ expectations as regards accounts for children, carried out by Norstat for Bank Millennium in November 2020 on a national sample of 500 parents of children aged 0-12 , with CAWI methodology.

II Survey of awareness of Poles regarding the need for financial education of children was carried out by GfK institute for Bank Millennium Foundation in May 2020 on a national sample of 1000 parents of children aged 3-7, with use of CAWI methodology.

III #finanseprzyszlosci2021 survey carried out by Instytut Badań Rynkowych i Społecznych for Bank Millennium in May 2021 on a sample of 1008 respondents, representative for the adult population of Poland, with use of CATI methodology

IV #finanseprzyszlosci2021 survey carried out by Instytut Badań Rynkowych i Społecznych for Bank Millennium in May 2021 on a sample of 1008 respondents, representative for the adult population of Poland, with use of CATI methodology


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Bank Millennium

Last Updated on August 9, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska

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