Regional Card Processing Centre: Raiffeisen at the Forefront of Innovation in Payment Processing
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Birgit Rohrhofer, CEO
The advent of card payments introduced a paradigm-altering payment mechanism to the financial industry. Today, the shift from cash to cashless transactions has reached new heights due to the emergence of innovative technologies that enable individuals to transfer funds securely without the need for cheques or physical money. This meteoric rise of payment card usage has resulted in an increase in card processing centres worldwide. However, in Central and Eastern European countries, this process has been relatively slow due to the lack of required infrastructure. Furthermore, with payment technologies and e-commerce sector growing exponentially, financial institutions in this region are now finding it difficult to keep up with resulting payment and card-related needs. In such a scenario, the Slovakia-based Regional Card Processing Centre (RPC), a subsidiary of Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI), brings the needed expertise to bridge this gap. The company offers the latest digital payment solutions and migration services to banks in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to ensure a smooth transition from legacy to newer card management systems. “RPC’s solutions leverage technologies such as big data and advanced analytics to assist clients in utilizing real-time data and delivering the best processing services as standard APIs,” says CEO, Birgit Rohrhofer. The company also offers SIM-centric mobile payment solutions—the first of its kind in Europe—along with host card emulation (HCE) services.
RPC’s solutions leverage technologies such as big data and advanced analytics to assist clients in utilizing real-time data and deliver the best processing services
RPC started out in 2000 as a division of Tatra banka—the first private bank in Slovakia and one of RBI’s largest subsidiary banks—and began offering their insurance and payment card acceptance services to the RBI Group’s network banks in 2009. This led RPC to address one of the biggest challenges, which was aligning themselves with the diverse needs of financial institutions working with RBI, based on their status in the European Union (EU) and varying maturity levels with respect to card payment processing. RPC fulfils the varied needs of these financial entities by first analyzing their needs followed by an elaborate discussion with them on their current strategy with regard to card payments. This enables the RPC team to devise a strategy to drive a bank’s future in payment processing both as an individual financial entity and as part of a banking group. Today, RPC is one of the market leaders in CEE, with a presence in nine countries of the region. RPC processes over four million transactions in an average year; the lion’s share is regarding card payments. The services are rendered exclusively to their mother company, RBI.
RPC remains at the forefront of innovation and offers a robust and efficient system to their customers, allowing banks to exchange information smoothly and effortlessly. The company also analyses market trends and acts as centre of competence to help market leaders share integration capabilities and business strategies with other banks to drive synergy in a common geographical region or marketplace. “RPC both fulfils the local market needs and empowers clients with payment solutions viable for different countries by enabling them to share vital information with each other,” adds Birgit.
To further strengthen their capabilities, RPC plans to develop a wallet solution by working closely with their digital strategy team in the RBI Group’s Vienna head office and aims to make it live by April 2019. With respect to geographical expansion, RPC is working to offer payment services in Hungary and Bosnia in the coming years, which will mark their presence in all countries with RBI subsidiary banks. “We are also reviewing our product portfolio to standardize the offerings and make them cost-effective for clients, while also customizing them according to country-specific requirements,” concludes Birgit.