Visa announced a three-year "Bulgaria Pays Digitally" program to help digitize small, medium and micro enterprises

The aim of the initiative supported by Bulgarian banks, government institutions and non-government organizations is to accelerate the development of the network for accepting digital payments and to stimulate the digitization of the Bulgarian economy

Industry / Finance
3E news
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Driven by its long-standing commitment to support small, medium and micro enterprises (SMEs) to accept digital payments, Visa today announced its " Bulgaria Pays Digitally " program. Its purpose is to support the recovery and preservation of their competitiveness after the Covid-19 pandemic and the current economic and energy uncertainty. Thanks to the "Bulgaria Pays Digitally" initiative, SMEs can introduce digital payments with a preferential fee less than or equal to 1% of the transaction value, a free SIM card (for POS terminals that need one) and a 20% discount on the price of the device, upon its purchase within the first 12 months. The program, which lasts for three years, is implemented in partnership with Bulgarian banks, government institutions and non-government organizations and applies to businesses that have not offered cashless payments in the last year.

Small and medium-sized enterprises make up more than 90% of global business and provide 50% to 60% of global employment. Visa has identified their critical importance to the economy and the risks they face, so it has focused many of its resources on them.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Visa has taken various initiatives on a global scale, with a commitment in Europe to support 8 million small and micro-enterprises to offer card transactions and gain greater access to the digital economy. As part of this ongoing commitment, Visa has helped digitize 24.8 million small and medium-sized businesses globally, or 50% of its multi-year 2020 goal of digitizing 50 million small and medium-sized businesses.

Consumers would like to be able to pay electronically in more and more places, and these expectations have evolved significantly during the pandemic. Therefore, initiatives that help small, medium and micro-enterprises to become part of the digital economy are now even more important. Shops that provide the possibility of digital payment methods are perceived positively by Bulgarian consumers, according to the Visa survey "Attitudes towards payment methods", commissioned by EVO Group in partnership with Visa in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Nearly 41% of respondents believe that they are modern, and 42% of them believe that they are customer-oriented. One fifth of the respondents indicated that they left a grocery store because there was no option to purchase with a card. The lack of digital payments is particularly acute in markets and bazaars (42%), at hairdressers, barbers, beauticians (45%), in taxis (42%), at doctors, dentists or physiotherapists (35%).

"We understand the vital role small businesses play in our society, which is why we are determined to provide them with this much-needed support as quickly as possible. Visa is committed to supporting our Bulgarian banks to enable merchants and consumers to use innovative, reliable and secure payments. That is why, together with Visa, the banks will offer preferential conditions for one year to Bulgarian SMEs that have not used card payments in the last 12 months," said Krasimira Raycheva, Country Manager for Bulgaria, Visa.

"We need to continue to invest in digital technologies and accelerate them, not slow them down, as we emerge from the pandemic and find ourselves in conditions of economic and energy vulnerability. To ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises get the support they need, together with our Bulgarian partners, we provide them with the opportunity to accept digital payments," said Katarzyna Zubzycka, Head of Merchants and Acquirers for Central and Eastern Europe, Visa.

The "Bulgaria Pays Digitally" program provides support in three strategic areas, which are of crucial importance for the economic recovery of Bulgaria:

• Enabling small businesses to take advantage of digital payments: Covid-19 has accelerated the need for small business owners to offer consumers a secure and convenient way to pay. Visa is working with a number of partners to increase the number of places where consumers can pay by card or mobile, and will help all businesses, who want to grow through digital commerce.

• Encouraging consumers to support small businesses: Studies show that consumers value their local and independent businesses and would like to support them whenever possible.

• Enabling small and medium-sized businesses to build an online presence: Every second consumer is shopping online more than before the pandemic. For time-strapped small businesses, launching an online business can be an expensive and daunting process. That's why Visa is working with partners to enable small businesses to quickly build a digital presence by providing the tools, resources and advice they need.



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