Cashless Europe: Dream or Reality?

Name: Mehmet Sezgin

Title: Chairman and CEO

Company: Garanti Payment Systems 

What I’m working on now… Transforming Turkey from a credit card country into a fully fledged no-cash card society with prepaid, debit, credit, contactless, and mobile all acting together.

My crowning achievement is… Moving Garanti from number five to the top spot in credit cards and supporting Turkey to become a Chip and PIN country with credit card expenditure reaching 30 per cent of personal consumption expenditure.

Education… MBA; Marketing and MIS at University of Massachusetts, Boston, BMC at GE Crotonville.

Industry Association Awards… Garanti Payment Systems has been shortlisted for the Banking Technology Awards in the UK in the category of ‘Most Innovative Use of IT’ for launching the world’s first NFC-enabled SIM card for mobile/contactless payments.

In August 2008, GPS won the “Best Innovation in a Loyalty Programme” award at the Cards & Payments Europe 2008 Awards for our “Bonus Trink” Sticker project based on the smart sticker contactless payment device. The sticker has contactless credit card features and can be attached to a mobile phone, iPod, or other device.

In April 2008, No Cash, a respected Romanian financial institution, awarded our Bonus Card with the “Most Innovative Product” award.

Also in 2008, we won the Sesame award for the customer loyalty application around Flexi Card. A fully customisable Flexi Card allows users to create a unique card with the interest rate, reward system, card fee, and even the card design of their choice.

When I’m not working, I like to… Play tennis, racquetball, go skiing or boating. I also enjoy reading books on branding, history, and technology.

My favorite payment factor is… A simple contactless sticker on my BlackBerry.

I think the next big thing in payments is… Mobile payments and NCF-enabled SIM cards that eliminate the need for specific, NFC-enabled handsets. 

Cash is… Soon to be a thing of the past.

Checks are… Long gone!

NFC will… Be the next big thing. Our NFC-enabled SIM cards already allow customers to pay for goods in 30,000 retail outlets in Turkey. An estimated 100,000 SIM cards are set to be in circulation by October 2010. Never has a technology advancement changed the way people not only communicate, but also consume, than the mobile phone. But bringing contactless payments to the mainstream on a global basis will require not only better communication but also banks collaborating with all parties.

EMV is… Essential to help decrease card fraud. Turkey was the third country in Europe to migrate to EMV. But more importantly EMV means chip, chip means smart and smart cards are essential for product development and differentiation.

P2P will… Is still a question mark in payment systems that needs to be addressed.

My mentor is… I have observed and learned many things from many people. Francis van der Bosch, a former EVP and Ron Williams, a former CEO, both of Europay, were very “sharp” personalities with very strong views. And I guess the industry will always remember Bob Selander, the retiring CEO of MasterCard for the courage and ability to turn an association into a for-profit company.

Executive Bio: Mr. Sezgin graduated from the Middle East Technical University with a degree in Business Administration and obtained his MBA from the University of Massachusetts. He has worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, various private banks and at MasterCard Europe. Mr. Sezgin has been the founder and CEO of Garanti Payment Systems since 1999 and is a Board Member of MasterCard Europe.


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