It is completely clear that for such a step I needed the support of close people, with great self-confidence and acquired knowledge. And now that I look back, it was a really big step. Get out of a fully organized system and start from scratch. I didn’t have a company – so to upgrade something – I’m developing. I started, literally from scratch, but I was very lucky and privileged to work in the banking system where I gained a lot of knowledge and experience that is necessary to successfully run a company like this.
I found an office, gathered a number of people around me – who were a precondition for everything to start. I prepared every paper for obtaining permits and approvals from the National Bank of Serbia. With Dragan Vasović preparing the documentation and the field for IT, the rest was up to me. No matter what, I believed in success.
The beginning was difficult and every step was a serious effort. I immediately insisted that our accounts be different, authentic, branded with striking blue color and our logo. And then several times during the day, you hear that they did not want to release our order in the SUP, in the tax office, under the pretext: “What is this, everyone could have done this”. For me, those were literally small nervous breakdowns, five or six during the day. And then you call, you explain, sometimes nice, sometimes less nice, you pray… The first year ended with a loss. I was beside myself. I kept wondering, will it go? The data was not great.
PaySpot was the first company in Serbia to enable payment transactions in addition to the Post Office. We were lonely for about half a year and we really literally cringed, making our way to ourselves and others.
How long did it take people to move their long-standing habit of paying bills at post offices and banks to their neighborhood?
That process is still ongoing. We are constantly gaining new clients, especially at a time when managing our own time is more complex, and on the other hand, everyone wants to avoid crowds and queues at post offices and banks. In the beginning, it was difficult because it is not only a habit, it is also trust. PaySpot enters into contracts with partners who already have their own business, i.e. their built reputation in their environment. These are technical inspections, exchange offices, retail chains, etc. – they are already working. This is the perfect business to see who is respected in their area, in their place, when people have confidence. It is literally a picture of people doing this business. Where the environment, the neighbors know that he is an honest, hard-working, good man – everyone goes to him to pay the bills. It all depends on the people.
Is it than practically a photo-robot of an ideal representative?
In order for someone to become our representative and receive training and complete free support from us, serious analyzes, both reputational and financial, precede them, checkpoint.rs is of great use to us. The recommendation of our associate from the field is sometimes very important to us. In addition to the fact that it is important that someone is an honest, hardworking, good neighbor – it turned out that what kind of person is at the counter, the one who communicates with the neighbors, with the people who come, is also important for success.
PaySpot, on the other hand, cooperates with large systems, commercial banks, large insurance companies. What are your experiences from that collaboration?
The experiences are great, and I come from that world, that’s my background. For me, this cooperation is natural, to be honest, we understand each other very easily – we speak the same language. The cooperation with insurance companies is excellent, all equally. We have common interests and everyone does their job – to mutual satisfaction. Some commercial banks have recognized the potential of payment institutions, but this is not always the case. One part of the banks directed its strategy towards digitally oriented users and stimulated them more towards online services, to practically remove them from the branches. We are partly addressing a slightly different population. For those who are not so digitally oriented, for those who are not visible to the financial sector – they do not have accounts in commercial banks, and they receive their earnings in a different way. Our customers are in and retirees than those who for some reason need confirmation of payment. Our customers are also people who want to do all those payment obligations in one place in their neighborhood – leave the bills, go shopping at the end and make the payment in return. That is exactly why our slogan is: “Your good neighbor“.
The list of payment services that you provide to your clients is regularly expanding, what can be expected in the coming period?
Very soon we should launch the money transfer service from Russia: Golden Crown, KoronaPay. The contract has been signed, we are waiting for the permission of the National Bank of Serbia. In addition, we have signed an agreement with the two largest companies in the world that deal with tax refunds – Global Blue Tax Free and Tax Free Planet. In that way, PaySpot will enable the citizens of Serbia to collect tax refunds from abroad in their country, and thus there is a greater possibility that they will spend that money in our country. We believe that this is the role of payment institutions – to help their country with their business.
We are also intensively preparing for services related to electronic money and instant payment services. We have already finished a good part of the activities there, we still have a part about the registration of those transactions with the National Bank of Serbia, which is a process that can take several months. In that way, we will enable the payment of bills in a cafe, shop with the help of a mobile phone. With these services, we are increasing our customer base and addressing those who are closer to online and digital habits.
What is PaySpot today?
First I have to tell you that I really love my job. I also believe that a good part of the associates can say the same. We sincerely try to act like one big family and I think it can be seen, it can be felt.
Today, PaySpot is a company with over 100 employees. The position of risk director is held by a man who was in Vojvodjanska bank, the audit director came to us from that position from NLB bank. The director of international payment operations came to PaySpot from that position from Credit Agricol Bank, as well as the collection director. In the position of director of complaints, we have a doctor of science. The Director of IT also came from the position of Director of IT at Credit Agricol Bank and experience from serious software companies. We are proud of the first man of IT system administration and IT system protection – with also a great experience and a large number of international certificates.
We have extremely high-quality staff and very important people in the field. In these circumstances, they literally act like heroes.
We are proud to point out that no one has lost their job, regardless of the current situation – which is not easy at all.