Since 2020, Ugne Buraciene has been the Group CEO at payabl., one of the leading PayTechs with roots in Cyprus and offices across Europe
payabl.’s mission is to become the preferred financial services partner, driving global growth for merchants in the EU and UK. “We prioritise fairness, transparency, and integrity for the merchants we serve, our employees and partners,” Ugne Buraciene said.
What are the benefits of partnering with your organisation?
“Our merchants aren’t just merchants, they are our partners as we are theirs, and so we prioritise fostering trust and transparency. We’re one of the very few providers with dedicated account managers to offer a one-to-one personalised service, and informational resources to empower their growth. Our modular technology also means that we can tailor our offerings to cater for all the financial services needs of each merchant and provide real-time insights to help them run their business.”
How important is customer-centricity in your organisation, and what game-changing financial solutions do you offer businesses/clients?
“It is incredibly important. Every innovation we deliver is focused on benefit for the merchant and the end-customer. One thing we’re excited about right now is the launch of payabl.one, which is coming in early 2024. We’ve spotted a need to bring all our services into one easy-to-access platform which will be the first of its kind in the paytech space.”
What are some of the challenges in Cyprus’ startup and innovation scene, and how does your organisation tackle these to stay ahead of the game?
“Making sure that regulations keep up with the pace of technological and social change. For example, labour laws need to be reviewed for provision of remote and flexible working. This is a particularly important feature of work in the tech industry and will impact our ability to recruit top talent if we cannot offer this to our Cyprus team.
“Cyprus has a strong banking and finance sector already, and there is good investment in infrastructure. Continuing the investment in this space and to digital infrastructure too will boost innovation. At payabl., we play an active role in supporting the tech industry in Cyprus and advocating for the island’s development in this space.”
What other payment products does your organisation offer to its clients?
“Our wide range of payments products includes card acquiring, banking services, local payment methods and POS terminals. We provide easy-to-install payment tech, smart fraud prevention and dedicated customer support. Our solutions are designed to meet any payment need allowing merchants to focus on growing their business.”
What’s inside your New Omniverse of Payments?
“payabl.one is designed to make things much simpler for merchants. It is a platform that unites the entire suite of our payment solutions in one single portal and will be the first in the market to successfully unite all aspects of payments and banking services in a single dashboard. With one authentication and API our client and merchants can take, make, and manage payments, apply, and activate new products and access robust reporting and insights.”
Do you believe Cyprus provides a nurturing environment for innovation/fintech companies and startups? If so, what are the benefits? Are there any areas that need improvement?
“Cyprus has big ambitions despite its size. It is already a growing centre for fintech companies and wants to do more. The Cypriot tech scene generally has developed significantly in recent years. I am a board director with TechIsland, who are on a mission to transform and level-up the tech space in the country. Fintech is one of the leading technology sectors in Cyprus, and so my experience in the banking and payments industry will provide new ideas and innovative solutions to help TechIsland take this even further.
“We want to make Cyprus a prime destination for investors, talent and entrepreneurs of all tech, but particularly fintech. This vision is shared by all. In the Cypriot Government’s 2023 National Reform Plan, they want to build a long-term sustainable growth model and their top priorities focus on business, productivity and diversifying the economy. To improve further, emphasis should be given to the legislative and regulatory regime in Cyprus, primarily around systemic risks, better protection for investors and consumers, sustainability, technology, and digitalisation.”
Can you tell us about some of the initiatives your organisation has undertaken, as well as the support offered to philanthropic/humanitarian causes?
“Our philanthropic efforts primarily support youth education in technology, to help the next generation from any background learn about computer programming. payabl.’s mission is to help solve the skills gap by increasing digital literacy and fostering innovation through education. We provide free education, equipment and offer scholarships to talented individuals and encourage our payabl. team to volunteer and support others through mentorship, community engagement and knowledge sharing.”
What are some of the trends set to level up in 2024?
“The current trajectory of the payments industry doesn’t suggest that we’ll see any seismic shifts in the coming year. The landscape typically sees iterative improvements rather than revolutionary changes. It’s a continuous cycle of refining existing processes, bolstered by advancements or enhancements.
“Notable developments include the ongoing evolution of Open Banking and a growing emphasis on regulatory improvements, especially in areas like buy now pay later (BNPL) payment methods. There’s a noticeable trend towards enhancing consumer protections, particularly in open banking transactions. The move towards instant payments has been a big accomplishment, simplifying cross-border transactions.
“The industry is also witnessing the growing integration of embedded finance elements, with a particular spotlight on BNPL services as the cost of living remains high. In terms of significant trends, the focus on real-time and instant payments remains prominent, contributing to the streamlining of cross-border payments.
“Open Banking, when discussed, often centres around payment initiation, primarily through Payment-as-a-Service (PaaS), with a shift towards account-to-account payments. However, challenges persist, especially from the consumer side, where established processes, as seen in card acquiring, are lacking. Despite the growth potential, particularly in cost-effectiveness for merchants, the adoption of point-of-sale (POS) payments seems to have stalled. Infrastructure challenges might be hindering further progress, and monetising data continues to be challenging.”
What are your plans for the future? Any new products and/or initiatives in the pipeline?
“We have a lot to look forward to. We have just secured our EMI licence in the UK and
are pursuing the same in the Netherlands. We also have big expansion plans in Cyprus and across Europe to hire more skilled staff and launch our new payabl.one portal to better serve merchants.”