This is a short story of Nicodemus Christopoulos from Greece, who’s 43 years old and runs his own bookshop in central Athens.
Younger users are usually the ones who value and most actively use the multi-functional digital wallet and payment account that iCard offers.
We, however, wanted to find out what problems does iCard potentially solve for people over 40 years of age, and whether mobile payments are actually suitable for this group.
For this reason, I got in touch and invited for a talk – Nicodemus, or Nick, who is a an iCard mobile payments user and exactly in this age group.
It was a nice winter day, around eight months ago, when Nick saw an advertisement of ours on social media. The ad promised a modern payment account, available through a mobile application and with no monthly fees. The app also offered a whole set of additional features that Nick would never expect from standard bank offers.
That triggered an interesting thought in Nick’s mind:
“I thought that maybe the time has come for the tech in our hands (our mobile phones) to actually really be capable of delivering all that.”
Here is the first of three main reasons that made Nick decide to open an account and get all his money in iCard:
1. No monthly fees and no fees for money transfers to and from other users
The EU informs us that in Bulgaria, in Greece and in other European countries, monthly fees for bank accounts are still dominating the market, while some providers even charge you fees for incoming money transfers.
Nick quickly reasoned that he could save around 150 Euro a year on monthly fees. He also thought that it’s a good idea to send money free and instantly to his daughter, who studies in Holland, and that could save him another 150 Euros and lots of hours of waiting at bank branch queues to just order money transfers.
2. Better money protection than you expect
The thing that impressed Nick the most is the way iCard protects people’s money.
While reading on our website, he found out that his money would be better protected because iCard is a licensed institution for electronic money. And as such, we cannot risk and trade with the money of our clients. We are not allowed to give out loans and we cannot invest it in any other way.
Bulgarian National Bank licenses our company and gives us the right to issue and operate with electronic money throughput the European Economic Area. To comply, we must care for your money in a very specific and highly regulated manner:
Your money is stored in the so called “segregated accounts.” By definition, no creditor of ours nor anyone else can demand any of the money in your digital wallet.
By choosing iCard for your money, you opt for a better protection and no investment risk for your money – it is there for you, on demand.
In addition, choosing to pay with your phone takes out the risk of losing your cash money.
Back to the story of Nick and what else he shared with me:
Up until recently, we were very restricted in Greece. We couldn’t take as much money out of ATMs as we did before. The situation was hated a lot for the simple fact that tourists were actually allowed to withdraw more money than the locals. That’s why I really like the idea of the so called institutions for electronic money.
Nick was motivated to give iCard a try even after discovering that we are a Bulgarian company.
I thought in my head: Hey, we’ve been neighboring countries for over 1,000 years and we never had any major issues. I will probably have no problems with this company either.
Nick shared that pure curiosity was the reason to actually take action.
3. Opening an account from the comfort of your home and 100% online money management through your phone
Now, this is innovation, not just for Bulgaria and Greece, but for all of Europe.
The ID verification process works through a video chat in the app and usually takes less than 3 minutes.
It is as convenient as is the delivery of your debit card by courier or by post for free.
I am really happy with the whole process – it took me under a minute to download, and register and about 2 minutes for the video talk with your specialist. My account was fully active in another 2 hours and my debit card arrived 2 days later by courier.
Your phone enables a lot of possibilities
iCard is able to save your time and money because our service is delivered online-only. For this reason, we do not charge you unnecessary fees to cover rent for luxury client-facing offices.
Supporting this flexibility wasn’t easy to accomplish.
We had to precisely align with all legal requirements for client identification and to integrate preventative measures against money laundering and terrorism financing. This is a daily challenge.
In the process, we managed to embed a lot of different services in iCard digital wallet while navigating the legal framework.
Nick, who’s very sharp and pragmatic, told me that he actually started paying with his phone. He made this choice to take out the risk of losing cash and to save on ATM fees.
Some of Nick’s acquaintances – regulars at the nextdoor café – were messing that he was “very fancy for paying with his phone”.
Nick told me:
If they only asked, I would gladly share how they, too, can save at least 200 Euro a year. I would also share how they can protect their money even better with the fingerprint unlock option.
The virtual cards, the multiple different currency accounts and the QR code payments were not of particular interest to Nick, but he did appreciate and digitize all his loyalty and discount cards, so he can save even more money when shopping.