top of page

Smart Fintech interview: Alice Anghelea for Easy Engineering Magazine

Updated: September 27, 2022

This interview appeared on the platform on September 15, 2022. Alice Anghelea, Revenue Growth Smart Fintech

For those who still need to learn what Open Banking is and how they can access its benefits, Smart Fintech is the first local fintech authorized by the National Bank of Romania to offer this technology to companies and users in Romania.

Founded in 2018, before the local entry into force of the European Union's PSD2 directive that launched Open Banking in Europe, Smart Fintech proposes a technological rejuvenation that transforms the way we pay and collect online for products and services, such as we access our banks centrally, and how we inform ourselves about the movement of money. All in one place and more secure than ever.

Through the two API infrastructure products developed, SmartPay – for initiating account-to-account online payments, and Smart Accounts – for centralized access to banks and bank statements, Open Banking has become a reality in Romania for over 1 year since the BNR authorized the capabilities of the solutions we developed.

With a partner team behind over 150 technical and PSD2 specialists, Smart Fintech brings Romanian banks to any company that wants to save online "roads" to the bank when it needs information and facilitates online payments directly between buyers and beneficiaries, payment processors not finding their place in mediating transactions.

Easy Engineering: Which companies adopt Open Banking in Romania for centralized access to bank accounts, and how does this service help them?

Alice Anghelea: The first companies interested in the immediate benefits of Open Banking are those that develop and market software applications in the financial-accounting field, from complex ERP applications to specialized applications, such as those dedicated to invoicing. All of these need to improve their functionality for the pace and manner their customers need to learn about their finances and act today.

Real-time information on available funds and transactions in a financial application leads to improved core operations:

  • reconcile quickly;

  • reduce the service time of customers and partners who pay online;

  • you free your technical team from creating and maintaining customized automation of files received from banks;

  • and finance employees are exempted from repetitive, valueless, and time-consuming activities.

By connecting such applications to Smart Accounts, their users have their financial information at their fingertips. Those who have outsourced accounting view the same data as their supplier, staying within schedule to update data.

EE: What about Open Banking payment solutions? Who adopts them, and what benefits do they get?

AA: Open Banking is also upgrading online payments, starting with the eCommerce and Services industries, the first interested in simplifying payments and reducing fees. Companies that offer PO payments can automate these payments with SmartPay. By issuing an invoice with a payment link or QR code with SmartPay, merchants help customers pay quickly by choosing the bank they want to pay from and authorizing the payment. Thus, manual bank transfers become history, bringing no value to customers who operate POs manually, leaving room for errors and consuming time with each payment.

In addition, merchants automatically receive payment status with SmartPay, which a manual bank transfer cannot confirm.

EE: Are we still expecting news regarding new products using Open Banking, or is it too soon?

AA: Sure. The fact that we have built a solid infrastructure for the core services – SmartPay and Smart Accounts – allows us to now also work on applications that use our APIs to meet different needs for using financial information.

In addition to our partners who want to offer Smart Fintech services to their customers directly from their applications, we are also targeting those companies and users who need these services the second they know of their existence and who do not have access to third-party applications that already integrate them.

So you'll soon be able to access your financial information with the payment and account management SaaS application we're working on now. Any company, freelancer, or individual can thus centralize their accounts and bank information in just a few minutes and view them at any time.

In the online payments area, we will also cover the payment of suppliers, employee salaries, and other payments that require bulk initiation. We have the space and infrastructure to create new products and meet different user needs.

EE: At what stage is the market in which you operate?

AA: Romania took the first steps in adopting Open Banking solutions starting in 2021, with the authorization of Smart Fintech.

The adoption of any new technology takes its course. The first steps are more difficult for all the participants involved: there are new terminologies, questions, curiosity, skepticism, and fears, but also progress due to those who want to get the benefits offered as soon as possible and understand the potential on the horizon.

As the first fintech authorized to offer these services, we also took on the responsibility of paving the way for adoption, making local Open Banking known, and correctly informing who and how it helps, especially regarding the online security of accounts and data banking.

In addition, we work closely with local banks, provide them with user feedback, help refine their experiences, and expand the scope of Open Banking.

It is a necessary process that we must go through. The good news is that those who once used a service through Open Banking, for example, initiate a direct account-to-account payment or centrally consult their bank account information without interacting with the banks' platforms, do not return to the old tools.

Great Britain, Central, and North-West Europe are several years ahead of Romania regarding Open Banking adoption. There are markets where digitization is more advanced. Various applications have integrated Open Banking, making these services much more common.

EE: What can you tell us about local market trends?

AA: Open Banking is in its infancy, and the benefits for users are constantly evolving. We are beginning to integrate Open Banking wherever we need to pay online for a product or service and wherever we need to be informed about our financial situation instantly, centrally, without navigating the various banks' platforms.

We are still discussing the experience of initiating a payment or the experience of consulting data from banks when, as users of these services, the most pleasant experiences are the shortest, alongside the advanced security under which these services are executed.

Soon, we will also see in Romania an evolution of the adoption of Open Banking similar to that in the European markets; once the area of ​​applicability expands, the covered use cases will respond to more and more categories of users, individuals, and companies.

EE: How are you progressing towards the end of 2022?

AA: We continue our way to as many users as possible with Smart Fintech partners who integrate the two API solutions in their platforms accessed by tens of thousands of users. Next is the expansion of Open Banking applications to bulk payment solutions. In addition, we have started passporting and development to new European markets to support our customers in the geographies relevant to them and the adoption of Open Banking.

Read the full interview in Easy Engineering Magazine here.


bottom of page