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Digital wallets: Are you familiar with your users?

Mikael Lijtenstein, the chief executive officer of AstroPay, discusses with iGB the importance of understanding client needs for developing the most innovative payment solutions in the business.

Lijtenstein is the chief executive officer of AstroPay, a pioneer in payment options for consumers who wish to make worldwide online transactions. Utilizing his engineering background and experience in offering cross-border payments and linking global merchants to new countries, he combines his technical skills and practical experience to drive payments innovation and solutions.

As usual, technology progresses faster than legislation, which may result in legal restrictions and transaction limits for particular currencies that impede the usage of cards — digital wallets are beginning to address these difficulties head-on.

According to the US financial services company FIS, over a third (32%) of the world's population currently uses mobile wallets, up from 21 percent in 2020.

However, in an industry where KYC is such an integral component, do suppliers truly understand who their customers are and what they desire?

According to AstroPay's chief executive officer, Lijtenstein, the success of the company's digital wallet solution may be attributed to his comprehension of the demands of consumers in various countries.

“User experience is the core of our business,” he says. “We need to be sure that what we are offering to our users is satisfying them – having a seamless UX increases the conversion rate and achieves this.”

AstroPay began in Brazil in 2009 before expanding throughout Latin America. During the pandemic, the firm launched in Europe, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal, shortly after debuting in Asia and Africa.

Lijtenstein asserts that the company's expansion into Asia, Africa, and now Europe is not a one-size-fits-all strategy, despite the company's apparent rapid growth in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. “We have to analyse how our users pay, their behaviour, how they access the technology, the internet penetration etc. So, we are focusing very differently in every market because it is not the same.”

This has resulted in the company becoming as near to a one-stop shop as is possible in the current market. “Today we have more than 200 payment methods available,” he notes.

According to Lijtenstein, establishing personnel in each jurisdiction is crucial to the success of AstroPay in order to engage with the local market.

“We are processing in Brazil, India, Europe and Africa; having dedicated teams in each market helps us bring the most successful product to users.

“We have dedicated teams to analyse player behaviour,” he adds. “We have tools to detect pain points and from this we can improve our product via AB testing. We are continually adapting to ensure what we are offering to our users is at its best.

“We have to be sure of what local methods work and then source these to provide for our users.”

Risk and reward

In the payments business, the risks are elevated; it is a tumultuous landscape subject to continual technological development, requiring incumbents to maintain agility, especially in a regulatory framework that is always evolving.

However, Lijtenstein acknowledges that despite gambling and gaming being a high-risk issue in the payments sector, it is not an impediment if the industry prepares well. AstroPay has accomplished this with a dependable, innovative, and adaptable KYC mechanism.

There will always be danger or change in the payments sector, therefore we must constantly be a step ahead of what may occur. This is contingent upon our team's capacity to comprehend the marketplaces, the surroundings, the terrain, and the many upcoming trends.

AstroPay's experience in Latin America and other emerging countries has prepared the firm for the complexities of western legislation, according to Lijtenstein.

Agility and creativity

Now it is beginning to tackle more difficult regions, such as Europe, using the same rigorous strategy that has proven successful in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

These digital currencies are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among younger people. AstroPay is eager to capitalise on this "digital first" strategy in its target continents.

"We debuted in Europe a few months ago, recognising there was room for a new solution. We are bringing what we have learned in underdeveloped areas to European countries, where millennials are the predominant users of digital wallets."

This, according to Lijtenstein, is where the emphasis should be placed while inventing. E-payments must be free, rapid, secure, and easy to use in order for AstroPay to be successful in all regions; hence, they must maintain their flexible and dynamic game plan.

“Our digital wallet is free and very easy to use. We want to conquer every country in Europe – we want to be everywhere. We have very ambitious plans, and we are going to go step by step to ensure we reach these.

“We have been in this industry for 13 years – this gives us more trust from users and strength in the industry to continue improving the system and what we offer to our users.”



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