Our client provides a service for launching debit cards that work with the VISA and Mastercard payment schemes. The service spans from onboarding, through issuing and into the processing of the transactions. The company typically works with challenger banks, fintechs and retailers to enable them to provide payment cards to their customers. Often, these are virtual cards that are used through a smartphone.
The company’s home market in North America was saturated and it was already present in Europe. The question was: where next? The company had identified 34 countries worldwide, but entering new markets is costly. It was vital to prioritise.
Each country has its own market conditions, payment infrastructure and regulations. Our client needed expert insight to understand which countries offered the greatest opportunity, and who they could partner with in those countries.
How EDC helped
Of the 34 countries the client had identified, about half of them were not good investment targets. Either the market was too small, or the use of payment cards was not sufficiently evolved. Using our specialist knowledge of the payments landscape worldwide, we helped to cut the list to 18 that deserved further investigation.
For each of those countries, we conducted in-depth research to size the markets today and predict their growth potential. Factors we considered included the local gross domestic product (GDP), the penetration of payment cards, and the use of technologies such as the internet and smartphones.
To understand the maturity of card payments, we looked not only at the issuance side, but also the acceptance side. In some countries the number of cash-only merchants is a barrier to electronic payments growth.
We surveyed the market for challenger banks and fintechs in each country. Our research also covered the competition, domestic payment schemes and the adoption of bank transfers. In many cases, these presented partnership or market opportunities for our client.
Prioritising countries for investment was not entirely about the numbers. Our discussions also looked at where the client already had a presence, either in person or through association with global clients who had a base there. We checked whether the client already met the certification requirements for the global and local payment schemes in each country, too.
The result of our work was a robust go-to-market strategy, that not only identified which countries the client should expand into, but also named the partners they could work with there.
Crucial to the success of the project was our network of payments experts around the world. In countries where we do not have a consultant, we still have a network of contacts and local researchers that we work with. In many of the countries, we had completed previous projects and had experience of the challenges in those markets, and how to overcome them.
“Our ability to identify potential partners was something the client could never have done themselves from their base in the US,” said Mark Beresford, Director, EDC. “Our local knowledge and experience in those markets worldwide gave our client the edge.”