The Office for IT and eGovernment in cooperation with NALED and with the support of Mastercard and Visa, has today launched a competition among cities and municipalities titled Champions of Cashless Payments Champions.
The aim of this campaign is to raise citizens' awareness about the benefits of cashless society and it is one of the measures of the National Program for Countering Shadow Economy 2019 – 2020.
The competition will be open for all cities and municipalities that enabled card payment of fees and charges on the local government counters, and the local governments that motivate their citizens to opt for cashless payments over the period from 1 July to 31 December, and register the highest number of POS terminal payments compared to the number of citizens, will receive valuable awards.
- With the establishment of Office for IT and eGovernment, electronic payments of administrative fees have been enabled via the eGovernment web portal, parallel with ensuring the necessary infrastructure for setting up POS terminals at all counters in city and municipal administration, police administration and real estate cadaster administration all across Serbia. So far, 250 POS terminals have been set up in 60 cities and municipalities in Serbia, at the counter of various public institutions, which have so far registered more than 51,000 transactions. This means that the citizens were spared the visit to bank or post office counters in order to pay the administrative fees, as they could finalize the whole process by visiting only one counter - the one in the local government. The introduction of POS terminals is performed free of charge for local governments, and it represents one of the key measures of the National Progam for Countering Shadow Economy 2019 – 2020, so we once again appeal to all local governments to join this action, so that we can jointly build an efficient and transparent public administration at the service of citizens - said PhD Mihailo Jovanović, the Director of Office for IT and eGovernment.
The winning local government will be awarded with a children playground worth 20.000 EUR, the first five will receive a website "In the service of citizens" modeled by the website of the Government of Serbia, while the top 10 cities and municipalities will receive a "Cashless Payments Champions" plaque to be presented at the final conference in Belgrade.
All local governments interested in taking part in the competition can sign an Agreement with the Office for IT and eGovernment for setting up the POS terminal, by 17 June. Certainly, all other municipalities seeking to enable this type of payments can sign the Agreement after this deadline as well, but they will not be included in the competition.
- Cashless transactions mean lower costs of payment, higher efficiency and security, for both citizens and businesses. For the state, it means more transparent financial flows, an opportunity for better tax collection and faster economic development, as well as lower costs, since the printing and storage of cash money is expensive. We hope to soon see POS terminals in other counters frequently visited by citizens, primarily the ones for issuing personal documents, and we also hope that the state will further work on lowering the allowed limit for cash payments - said a member of NALED Executive Board and the Mayor of Požarevac Bane Spasović, adding that the campaign will be accompanied with the initiative for introducing POS terminals at the counters of public institutions.
The event highlighted that the development of cashless society requires education and promotion of new technologies, and the benefits of reduced use of cash for the overall society. There is also a need to work financial inclusion, bearing in mind that, except for the people who lack information about reliability of cards, this type of payment method is most commonly not used by the people that have no bank accounts.
- In partnership with the public sector, we have realized several successful projects in Serbia, such as the national prize game with fiscal receipts and card slips together with NALED, as well as the initiative for contactless payments in public transport. We are very proud to continue these partnerships, so that we can provide access to new technologies for all citizens, while also meeting the needs of users, as Mastercard Masterindex survey 2018 shows that even 24% active card users would like to use cards for payments to public institutions - said Jelena Ristić, Director for Serbia, Montenegro and BiH in Mastercard.
Along with free installations and training for using the POS terminals, the local governments will provide their citizens with the lowest fees for payments made at the counter - 45 dinars for amounts under 4,500 dinars, and 1% for higher payments, as well as the free branding of counter halls and participation in the campaign and promotion.
-. We are very happy to see this initiative supported by the Government, and to share a joint vision about the importance of further development of cashless society in Serbia. By taking part in the campaign, we support Serbia's citizens in using safer and easier methods of payments – said Vladimir Đorđević, General Manager of Visa for South East Europe.
According to the National Bank of Serbia, there are 6.1 million card users in our country, owning slightly more than 8 million cards, though a half of them are inactive. The number of POS terminals has ranged between 71,000 and 88,000 in the previous years. Even though 2018 has shown an upward trend, the number of POS terminals per 1 million inhabitants is still 2.5 lower than the EU average, which indicates there is much room for the development of cashless payments.