WebMoney Europe: We are not just an e-wallet, we create the environment for doing business online
The global settlement system WebMoney was founded in 1998. In January 2016 the number of registered system users has exceeded 30 million. Currently, around 10 thousand users register with the system daily and more than 100 thousand stores worldwide accept WebMoney payments.
The recent study by e-Finance User Index has shown that more than two thirds of active Runet users choose WebMoney over other payment methods. In November last year WebMoney Europe received an FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) license in the UK and, as a result, acquired a status of electronic money issuer in all countries within the European Economic Area.
Banks.eu met Avet Mnatsakanyan, the CEO for WebMoney Europe, and spoke with him about the future of electronic wallets in Europe, the company plans in Britain and the security of online payments.
- E-wallets have become an essential part of day to day life for people in Russia. But what about Europeans? How commonly do they use this type of service?
Europeans have long preferred cashless payments. Despite bank cards being the most popular payment method, currently their position in the market is not as strong as it used to be and is gradually giving way to alternative payment methods, where e-wallet is the fastest growing. For example, the recent study `Global Payments Report` has estimated that by 2019 e-wallets will become more popular for online payments than credit and debit cards.
In 2014 in the UK, more than 20% of e-commerce payments were made using e-wallets while in Germany this figure has exceeded 30%. In Italy, France, Spain and Poland e-wallets are also very popular and, undoubtedly, their popularity will increase in the coming years.
- Many sceptics believe that an e-wallet can get `hacked` or `lost` way too easily. How does WebMoney protect the security of their customers?
In a lot of cases when third parties gained access to someone e-wallet or bank account, these were a result of so-called `social engineering`. Criminals use cunning tricks to manipulate their victims into providing their confidential information. Users need to be more vigilant about suspicious messages, such as highly profitable business offers from strangers or notifications of a huge lottery win, which requires advanced tax or delivery payments, etc. Here, at WebMoney, our primary focus has always been on security and reliability of services. It is compulsory for all users of the system to follow a two-factor authentication procedure, either using a traditional SMS confirmation or, alternatively, a new service introduced by WebMoney - E-NUM. This service generates one-time passwords, based on the “number-challenge” – “number-response” principle, and it is free of charge regardless of the mobile provider and does not require the use of additional devices.
- What is your competitive market advantage in comparison to other e-wallets?
WebMoney is more than just a payment tool, we are particularly focused on creating a secure business environment for online transactions. Thus, our software programs for managing e-wallets provide an interface to issue loans, an inbuilt messenger, and a function, which allows users to make video calls directly from within the application. Also, users of the system have access to the WebMoney business network, where they can create forums to discuss various topics. Overall, the system has several dozen services, such as a platform for fundraising and group purchases, Escrow, the credit service, the files storage, etc. The system does not charge an additional fee for using most of the services.
- WebMoney has recently acquired a license as an electronic money issuer. What does it actually mean for the company?
The FCA license confirms the security and reliability of the system, and is essential for further expansion in Europe, market promotion and, most importantly, for building trusting relationships with our customers. To this end, from the 1st of December 2015 WebMoney Euro wallets have become available in the UK, an important and highly competitive market, which is of a great interest to us and where we would like to gain a strong presence.
- Following the latest tragic events, namely the crash of the Russian plane in Egypt and terror attacks in Paris, intelligence agencies may be closely watching many of the financial payment systems and crowdfunding services due to the expert opinion that such services may be used for anonymously financing terrorist activities. Will WebMoney change the way the company operates due to the increased financial control? Will the service be tracking “suspicious” financial flows, including those in bitcoins?
WebMoney has implemented a multi-level authentication system. It means that certain services, such as operating with large sums of funds only become available to the user if their personal data has been verified.
We have also created an interface where any member of the system can share their concerns with us about suspicious use of the WebMoney technologies, for example, send us a link to a suspicious website or inform us about a user possibly engaged in illegal activities, including activities specified in the Agreement on the Countering of Illegal Trade, Financial Schemes, and Money Laundering.
All such cases are carefully reviewed by our Arbitration Service. Also, WebMoney has a department designated specifically for interaction with government authorities and law enforcement agencies.
This effective set of measures is designed to prevent organizing illegal financial activities within the system.
You can find previous interviews from the series here:
- Croatia 8
- Montenegro 3
- Serbia 5
- Czech Republic 145
- Slovakia 10
- Germany 173
- Romania 4
- Hungary 7
- Latvia 149
- Bulgaria 19
- Lithuania 64
- Poland 57
- Italy 63
- Belgium 17
- Luxembourg 8
- Slovenia 4
- Ireland 6
- Greece 11
- Austria 32
- Albania 1
- United Kingdom 383
- Netherlands 36
- Denmark 22
- Iceland 1
- Spain 100
- Malta 1
- Monaco 2
- Norway 16
- Portugal 5
- Finland 15
- France 59
- Switzerland 140
- Sweden 59
- Estonia 40
- Cyprus 3
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