NBU authorizes Kyivstar to act as payment infrastructure operator
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has approved the application of StarMoney LLC (Kyiv), the subsidiary of the leading Ukrainian mobile communications operator Kyivstar, and authorized the company to act as an operator of the payment infrastructure, Kyivstar President Peter Chernyshov has said.
StarMoney, the 100% subsidiary of Kyivstar, has finally received the status of the operator of the payment infrastructure services! Maybe someone would say that there are many operators of this kind in Ukraine, but for the mobile operator this is a first one!" he wrote on his Facebook page.
Chernyshov said that the provisions on carrying out transactions with e-money of the Prostir national payment system are pending approval by the NBU. Then Kyivstar will be actually ready for the launch of mobile financial services for subscribers.
"Soon those who live far from bank branches or do not have a bank account will be able to pay for shopping, utility services and public transport tickets using a regular phone (even a smartphone is not needed for this!). And those who live in cities will easily and quickly pay for a taxi, the delivery of pizza or other goods directly from the mobile application," he said.
Kyivstar is the largest Ukrainian mobile communication operator, serving about 26.4 million subscribers as of the end of the third quarter of 2017. Its revenue grew by 10.5% in January-September 2017, to UAH 11.08 billion, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose by 11.8%, to UAH 6.02 billion.
Kyivstar in mid-January 2014 jointly with Alfa-Bank (Kyiv) launched the NFC service of contactless payments, which requires a user to own a bank card linked to a SIM card and a special app. However, this service has not become very popular.
In August 2014, the operator registered StarMoney LLC to provide financial services (except insurance and pension funding), financial leasing, lending and other types of monetary intermediation, as well as data processing and information publishing on websites. The charter capital of the new company is UAH 7 million and a year later it was increased to UAH 61 million. Kyivstar fully owns the company.
StarMoney LLC in June 2016 received a license from the National Bank of Ukraine for money transfer in the national currency. Initially, the operator announced that it will enter the financial service market by the end of 2016 and later – early 2017. Chernyshov said that the operator faced some regulatory obstacles on the way to the commercial launch of a first package of financial services, which delays their launch. Kyivstar seeks to overcome the obstacles and enter this market by the end of 2017, the president said in August.
Kyivstar's shareholder is international group VEON (earlier VimpelCom Ltd.). The group's shares are listed on the NASDAQ exchange (New York).