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Riding the Digital Wave: Fintech Trends Reshaping Kazakhstan’s Finance Landscape

Introduction

Kazakhstan’s fintech sector is slowly positioning itself as a major player in Central Asia as emphasised by Fintech Consult Managing Partner Dr. Jochen Biedermann With a foundation of financial infrastructure, supportive government policies, and a tech-savvy population, the country’s fintech industry reflects signs of growth.

fintech trends reshaping Kazakhstan's financial landscape

Trend 1: Need for Fintech, Rise in Digital Payments and E-commerce

Kazakhstan has witnessed a growth in digital payments and e-commerce in recent years. This can be credited to multiple factors such as technological advancements, regulatory adjustments, increased demand, and heightened market competition.

Here are a few statistics that provide context for this narrative.

Key Statistics

  • Cashless transactions surged from $5 billion in 2017 to an impressive $158 billion in 2022, reflecting a notable CAGR of 98%.
  • Internet and mobile banking are frequently used for cashless payments, accounting for 82% of all such transactions in 2022.
  • The number of online banking service users has grown by 78% annually.

To accommodate evolving consumer preferences, merchants have been deploying point-of-sale (POS) terminals at a consistent rate. In 2017, Kazakhstan had 108,000 POS devices in operation, a number that increased to 831,000 in 2023, with an annual growth rate exceeding 70%. Technological advancements such as biometrics and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) have also reshaped the payment landscape.

Trend 2: Popularity of Open Banking

Kazakhstan is considering the mandatory implementation of open API and open banking in the banking sector. The “Concept for the Development of Open API and Open Banking” underscores the commitment of consumers, fintech firms, and traditional financial institutions to establish infrastructure for digital financial integration. Cross-industry integration, digitization of public services, and open data initiatives are leading to digital transformation within the financial market.

Trend 3: Ecosystems and Super-Apps

This banking sector offers a range of services through a single application, combining financial and non-banking services such as online payments, mobile banking, e-commerce, investment, insurance, and lifestyle. The competition among banks to provide integrated services within their ecosystems is intense. Kaspi.kz, with 12.6 million monthly active users, equivalent to around 65% of Kazakhstan’s population, is one such example.

Trend 4: Fintech DrivenTransformation for SMEs

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are using digital channels for their operations. In addition to this, financial institutions are exploring non-traditional data sources. Primary examples include inventory management and customer feedback, to improve credit scoring models. B2B fintech services appear to be offering a wide range of solutions, from invoicing to HR and legal support.

Trend 5: Democratisation of Capital Markets

Wealthtech and digital trading platforms have witnessed sustained growth. This is driven mainly by legislative changes and technological advancements. Legislative reforms in 2020 have opened the door to more retail investors in Kazakhstan. Mobile investment apps have played a role in democratising access to stock markets too. This also reflects well in the growth of retail investor accounts from 119,000 in 2019 to 581,000 in 2022.

If Kazakhstan continues to advance in its fintech journey, it can bring revolutionary innovations in the financial landscape and increase competition in the global market.

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