Financial products and services
The finance market plays a key role in the economic system. It is influenced by different factors, both external and internal. The situation of finance market is significantly affected by the condition of the macroeconomic environment, the condition of global market economy as well as the situation on world finance markets. The key to the domestic financial market is also the situation of the euro zone, and the consequences of the financial crisis. As far as these can be reflected on the actions that the European financial groups, operating on the Polish market, can take in the future. The risk of temporary or permanent deterioration in the individual countries, as well as financial institutions that are established in these countries, is closely linked with the ability to access to the financial activities on the market.
For the reason of that, regardless of the type of financial entities, their situation depends, in that or another way, on the relationship with other entities from other sectors of the financial market and the real economy. Obviously, the connections between entities significantly determine their stability, which in turn affects the level of investment and the overall financial market. Therefore, there has been provided support programs for investors, operating under the Investment Service Centre, aimed at the broad analysis of proposed investment projects and their proper implementation, in order to avoid any possible financial loses.
Thanks to the comprehensive investors’ support, Poland, regardless continuing weakening of economic situation in the Euro Zone, has recorded in 2014 high economic growth, and in 2015, according to the NBP report, its GDP increased to 3.6%. Financial products and services cover a very extensive area of the whole financial market. Domestic banks as well as banks with foreign capital are constantly competing in terms of the quality of proposed offers, the level of profit percentage, or new innovative payment systems and customer service. The competitiveness of offers, both in terms of financial return as well as the availability and ease of control over their own financial products, significantly determines the image of the domestic financial market. Increased investment activity of bank customers, which follows from the wide availability of services, affects their quality of life, but also influences the economic development of the country.
Electronic payments, also known as e-payments, are conducted via the internet. They include any financial operations, done remotely with the help of electronic devices, such as PC, smartphones and tablets.
Electronic payments can be made by: transfer order, payment cards or through electric payment providers. In most cases, they resemble traditional payment methods – such as bank transfer or payment with a card – however, they are tailored to the nature of the Internet. Its performance is ensured by Payment Services Provider (PSP4), which mediates between the bank of client, who is doing the shopping, and the seller or only between the parties of the transaction. Creation and development of electronic payment is closely related to e-commerce. Thanks to that, it is customized much better to the needs of e-commerce than payment cards and traditional bank transfers, whose concept date back to times when the Internet2 has not been popular yet.(1)
Micropayments - are electronic payments, made on small, even a few penny amounts of money. In business practice there is no single, precise definition of micropayments, and the upper limit value is determined arbitrarily by individual suppliers; however, usually closes in the amount of approximatelly USD 10-25. In addition to the value of transactions, micropayments differentiate by the fact that they are usually related to the purchase of digital goods or services - such as an access to the article, the music or the movie - which is obtained immediately after payment transaction has been made. In fact, it is the time of the payment, but not the cost that plays the greatest importance in micropayments. Usually they are concluded by means of the so-called „one click”.
Another advantage of micropayments, both from the seller and the buyer points of view, is that at the time of payment the customer does not leave the web store. This is particularly important, for instance, in online games, in which the re-buy of additional services does not stop the game. Such quick purchase has an impulsive character, that in turn, is very profitable for the sellers. Micropayments - are more often used on websites, offering access to digital products - newspaper articles, scientific papers, music files etc. as well as on the computer games market. International PayPal and Ipsos research, which described 22 markets and over 17 500 consumers, enabled to point out the best practices in international commerce and identify possibilities for Polish entrepreneurs. It is estimated that m-commerce is rising 3 times faster than the whole e–commerce sector in Poland. In 2013-2016, the average m-commerce growth rate in Poland will amount 32.8% in comparison to 10.4% growth in case of e-commerce in total.
Polish market of electronic payment is still a developing one. In the last year, we noted an increase in the number of transactions by 25%, and in the last 2 years by 48%. According to data from banks, in the 3rd quarter of 2015, there was 861.7 million transfers made with payment cards (cash and cashless ones) and, in comparison to the previous quarter, there was an increase in number of transfers by 35.7 million, what gives a growth of 4.3%. This trend is to remain in upcoming years. It is a result of rising number of clients doing shopping in the Internet as well as an increasing number of clients using internet banking. 71% of households possess an access to the Internet. Shopping on the web was conducted by more than 30% of Poles, aged 16-74. Interestingly, the level of users from 2012 to 2015 did not change significantly. According to a Gemius study, in 2015 about 70% of Poles, (24.82 million) were using the Internet. It is worth mentioning that five years ago, every second inhabitant of Poland was logged in the „network”, which is equal to 18.21 million people. In 2005, the Internet users amounted over 27% of people of Polish society (which is 9.55 million).
Poland is one of the most rapidly developing m-commerce markets among EU member states, competing with Germany and France. 30% of Poles do the shopping in the Internet and 20% of them use mobile devices, not limiting themselves to regional or national purchases. In 2015, the value of mobile market amounted to PLN 2.5 billion, what gives an increase of PLN 1.5 billion in comparison to 2014. Every fifth representative of Polish e-shops declares that mobile transfers constitute 5%-10% if all orders. It is a solution for investors who are looking for innovative investment project that are still in the phase of development.
Multisystem - or a combination of loyalty systems with the system of electronic payment - is a novelty that was missing so far on the Polish market. It combines data from all cards of the user, and helps to save space in the wallet, systematise and simplify payments and make it easier to organize active means of payment, such as debit, charge, credit and prepaid cards. In addition to that, Multisystem assigns to the card all available loyalty and discount systems, corresponding to explicit incentives. The innovation, popularly called Multicard, represents an intelligent electronic card, based on the concept of „all in one”. It is a closed and save system that integrates in itself all external systems, aimed at consolidation of as much as possible paying transactions in one integrated card. It overlooks the needs of modern society, which expects that the new technologies will offer them a wide range of possibilities in an affordable and functional form. Such a novelty in the form of multi-purpose cards, are used in Poland for several years. A good example of this are „benefit systems”, designed for providing its users with the discounts in medical, sports and many other facilities.
Electronic student cards used as a library card, public transport ticket or Krakow Family card, can give a number of discounts on selected products and services. It serves another example of the useful and original solution. However, none of the examples presented, does not allow the user to conduct payment transactions. In Poland, a growing interest in the implementation of multicard, allowing the user to get access to all bank accounts and financial services. Unfortunately, so far, a solution has not been introduced yet. Recent data indicates that currently 35.5 million of payment cards are operating in Poland. It is not surprising, as it nowadays, one of the fastest growing industries in our country. Both the number of cards and transactions conducted continue to grow. This indicates on the ample opportunities for potential investors. Polish market needs and expects this type of solutions - from both partners, engaging in programs and banks, as well as the clients themselves, who often complain of non-functional and not fully thought out procedures in the conduct of accounts, getting access to them or payment handling. In fcat, multisystem is a good solution not only for entrepreneurs, this type of improvement has been optimized for each user of electronic cards, the primary goal of which is to facilitate a number of daily activities ranging from shopping, ending with merging of all necessary information, useful during traveling.
Multisystem is a project that is still undergoing through various changes and modifications. Moreover, it also needs an investment, programming, banking support as well as improvements in the field of administration, including the implementation of a card system or improvements related to the development of mobility and technology in urban centers.
The focus should be concentrated on the informatization of local governments, so that the operating systems of administration were able to support and implement this type of project. This whole process is a long-term cycle, which requires a multifaceted cooperation at various levels of development, which creates great scope for the involvement of capital for entrepreneurs and investors. Multicards innovation and market demand for the opportunities they offer, make it a region with great potential. The resources of consolidation solutions are always very popular, and the activities in this area comprise of benefits that are hard to find in other districts of investment, including the functioning of the vast space of the business, which is growing with the development of the project. An extremely important issue from the multiplexing area is security. The technologies, applied in a design of Multisystem, enhance the security of payment transactions by authenticating the cryptographic card. The use of modern technologies will prevent counterfeiting of cards and enrich the systems with interoperability verification and authorization functions. The data encryption will not only allow the safe use of the Multicard, but will also make the system available for smartphones - through specially designed and developed applications.
The beginning of 2015 fostered investments; national investment funds gained over PLN 1.9 billion in February. In turn, PLN 2.1 billion is an amount of deposit surplus over withdrawals, that Open-ended Funds (OEF) exceeded and reached at the same time the highest level within the last 14 months. Low-risk profile funds appeared to be in the centre of investors’ interest in 2015. Investment in participation units of debt solutions, whose balance of deposits over withdrawals amounted to PLN +750 million, remain to thrive. Innovative solutions, whose managers invest on national debt market, were the main beneficiaries of the inflow. Among them, debt funds with universal strategy gained the majority of resources (PLN +420 million), among which the most prominent are as follow: Pioneer Pieniężny Plus (Pioneer OEF) as well as Long-term Bonds of PKO (Umbrella OEF). High sell rate was also characteristic of corporate debt funds (less than PLN +200 million), mainly for Arka Prestiż corporate bonds (Arka Prestiż SFIO) and Millennium corporate bonds (Millennium SFIO). Foreign bonds funds were considerably less popular and they gained only PLN +30 million net.(2)
Cash and money funds remain highly popular. They noted PLN +690 million net influx. According to materials published by Analizy Online, investments in this sector were characterized by the highest level of safety, although interest ra extent, negatively affect future profits from investments.In 2015, the share funds were also growing and after all, gathered the biggest ammount of new resources in comparison to 2014. The deposit and withdrawal balance amounted PLN 370 million. New resources were directed mainly to foreign shares funds which had the record sales balance since the crisis of 2008, i.e. PLN +480 million. Big popularity of this solutions results from boom on foreign shares markets in the USA, Great Britain or Germany, where stock indexes set new records.(3) According to Analizy Online, in the first quarter of 2016, there was a great activity on national share market – what confirmed that the situation is improving. It fostered allocation of financial resources in shares of small and medium-sized companies by investors. The balance at the end of 2015 amounted to over PLN 70 million net, and the margin between deposits and withdrawals was over PLN 70 million net.
As a result of the fact that the managers allocated assets on foreign markets, the segment of mixed funds reached PLN 120 million net in February 2015. However, Polish fixed funds segments noted PLN 0 balance, which means that deposit and withdrawals were equal. The only solutions for stable growth were net positive with PLN 90 million of profit. The first quarter of 2015 was also beneficial for total return rate funds, to which clients paid PLN +160 million more than they withdrew. Close-ended Funds (CEF) are superior to other forms of investments. The value of investment funds is created by combining financial resources of particular investors. These resources are invested in common business of fund members. Their input is converted into investment membership titles, membership units or investment certificates which define investors’ proportional share in the value of their investment fund. Funds of that kind are managed by specialists supervised by Supervisory Board what guarantees transparency of the activities. The rules require from Investment Fund Companies publishing to publish all crucial information about their activities. Every investor can find something interesting for them in Close-ended Investment Fund. It is due to the fact that investment goals are highly diversified. The investment safety also increases.
Close-ended Investment Funds are regarded as one of the most interesting form of joint investment. Thanks to the lack of restrictions characteristic to Open-ended Investment Funds, they have possibility to invest freely in different asset classes as well as derivative instruments. An investor acquires a security – an investment certificate. CEFs, due to their legal status, also provide tax optimization to the investors.
Current financial crisis makes companies as well as households seek savings in their budgets. However, financiers and tax accountants strive to meet customers’ demands, often offering them solutions that ensure making them. Tax optimization, due to CEF, is a unique construction that is based on advantages resulting from the fact that they are exemp The optimization is possible thanks to regulations of Tax Ordinance Act according to which partnerships are not obliged to pay income tax. It is paid by the partners in proportion to their right to profit share. As a result, in case of Close-ended Funds, corporate tax does not have to be paid thanks to tax exemption.
Having acquired the fund investment certificates, the investor will have to pay income tax in the future when the funds are canceled. Nonetheless, in that way, an investor can benefit from postponing the date of paying it. As a result, in long-term, such move gives measurable benefits from reinvesting the money economized on taxes. Thus, for each fund, the goal is to invest the entrusted resources in such a way that would allow making as much profit as possible for the fund members and minimizing investment risk at the same time. Investment in investment funds can provide investors with much bigger profits than deposits or bonds. Meanwhile, they are one of the most popular forms of investing in Poland and around the world.
According to the Central Statistical Office, the structure of social assistance that was not changed for a long period of time, in some cases perpetuates the poverty rather than helping to handle it. The financial sources, provided under the benefits or grants, are not always used as intended. The answer to the needs of donors, which number, according to statistics, would increase by 30%, lies in the proper allocation of funds, an intelligent system of social assistance using modern information technologies, which will also enable a communication between the support unit and the donee. Furthermore, computerization of the department will help to faster and easier contact people, interested in the relevant body. Long queues and complicated formalities could be replaced by a specially designed system, containing all the necessary information and facilities. Such a platform would help the person concerned, to fill step by step any document (registration form) and in a transparent way determine where to seek help in individual cases. In order to make system based on mutual benefits, those in need would have an access to a specially configured, personal accounts, which would assist them in the identification.
In order to prevent wasting of money on unnecessary things or items that are not covered by financial support, the system will allow the use of resources only in the case of important food products, bills or other necessities.
This is to prevent the use of social assistance as a source of additional income, and thus, let the money go to the most needy families, which will use the funds received for their intended purpose. The billing system will also verify what types of products are the most needed, which in the future will also help to organize all kinds of collections of food for the poorest people. The system also requires the cooperation of the public administration and the banks in order to ensure that the appropriations would be transferred every month to individual’s account, and that at any moment one could verify how they were spent. Perhaps it will be a good idea to design a card, on which the funds from social assistance would be provided and which could be used in the same manner as a debit card, but without the ability to withdraw the cash from that card. This method would help to control the expenditures of the user, thus, making a system very user-friendly. Undoubtedly, this solution would be a great advantage for both parties: for the user - as the cardholder, it will help to easily check and control the status of the account, and financial resources could have come to the account faster and be better adapted to the current situation; for the beneficiary it will, in turn, ensure the possibility of easy and transparent arrangement of all necessary data.