The challenges and plansof EFISZ for 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic

The pandemic situation caused by the new coronavirus also had a substantial effect on the “life” and operation of EFISZ (Electronic Payment Service Providers’ Association): the professional programme of the Association planned for 2020 needed to be updated, and the scheduled events, professional forums, working group meetings, round table discussions and professional workshops had to continue online. Thanks to the active contribution and support of the members, we made progress with the professional works related to EFISZ even in the exceptional situation!

In 2020, the Association planned several professional events focusing on the transformation of the domestic and international payment ecosystems, the reshaping European Digital Finance Strategy, the experiences relating to the Instant Payment System (“AFR”) implemented in Hungary, and its future service development opportunities as well as the presentation of further projects built on the AFR. We initiated a professional dialogue on consumer-friendly digital services and the current topics of consumer protection. Additional online events took place, including on such interesting topics as “Banking as a Service” or community transport – the introduction of Public Transport Mobile Ticket in urban and interurban transportation. We conducted panel discussions on grant possibilities, the changed situation of digital finances and the financial supports that can be provided to start-ups.

Last year, EFISZ conducted two country-wide representative surveys on the state of domestic electronic payment with the continued contribution of its members: we were interested in the knowledge, preferences and needs of the Hungarian public in connection with electronic payment in the pandemic situation caused by the coronavirus; later we also conducted a survey on the same questions at county seat level. The comparison of the 2020 surveys with those conducted in the previous years and with the evolution of the market trends clearly showed the effect of the consumer habits changing due to the pandemic already at the end of 2020.

After the domestic launch of our Association at the beginning of last year, we established our international network, the European Digital Finance Association (EDFA) non-profit-making organisation (http://europeandigitalfinance.eu/) , founded in Brussels with 9 European professional organisations involved in fintech and electronic payment, which has EFISZ as a founding member. To begin the work of the non-profit-making association currently consisting of the professional organisations of 13 countries, it took part in the development and later in the parliamentary debate of the Digital Finance Strategy of the European Union as an advisory partner of the European Union. The goal of the European Commission was to create a unified digital market for financial services by means of the Digital Finance Package accepted in September. The Digital Financial Strategy plays an important role in the European Union’s digitisation initiatives, which promotes the creation of new digital value chains. Active participation in preparing the EU’s Digitisation programmes may result in the significant improvement of local enterprises accessing development resources for 2021-2027.

The planned professional focal points of the Association in 2021 include the continuation of the professional consultation on the renewal of the European Finance Strategy (EDFA-DG FISMA), the transformation of the domestic payment ecosystem (government efforts, regulation, business environment), the potential services built on the AFR, the emergence of new value chains, the government’s digitisation efforts (community transportation, Smart City, the potential of the digitisation of public utility and public services, circular economy) and the promotion of economic competitiveness. We will also address the promotion of sustainability (environmental, economic, social), the development resources (domestic, EU), the domestic and international promotion of fintech cooperation (sharing “good practices”, identification of partnership opportunities), and last, but not least, we will continue our cooperation with the domestic and international professional partner organisations (EFDA) and our regional partnership with the Visegrád countries (V4). 

Within the framework of its professional activity planned for this year, EFISZ wishes to continue the cooperation with universities (University of Debrecen) and the government-level dialogues, furthermore, it will conduct a new market research among the general public (“digitisation vs. COVID”) and also plans to organise its own professional conference in the virtual space.

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