Online banking services
FinTechs belonging to this area offer traditional banking services in a modern way, usually through online services or mobile applications as well as ancillary services – e.g. enabling customers to manage their giro- or custody-accounts online and in real time or offering e-wallet services. Keywords in this context are also API-Banking oder BaaS/BaaP.
API stands for application programming interface and is offered to access data banks and to extract and insert information. API-Banking consequently means the access to data banks of banks to offer new and innovative banking applications.
Through these services FinTechs offer services with new functions, e.g. enabling customers to manage their accounts online and in real time.
BaaS – Bank as a Service/BaaP – Bank as a Platform:
The API-based Bank as a Service platform has a full banking licence, but merely serves as the back end for standalone independent FinTechs, which “use” the licence and the back end of the bank to offer new financial services, launch additional financial products or expand into additional markets.
Attitude of the country towards online-banking services
The situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic encouraged a steadily growing usage of online banking over the last years. According to the BoA, during the first nine (9) months of 2021, monthly average transactions of online banking reached 400,000 operations compared to 343,000 in 2020. Nowadays, 11 out of 12 banks operating in Albania provide online banking and are constantly promoting this modality as an alternative channel for customer relations.
Obligations and requirements to provide online-banking services described above
Online-banking services are provided solely by licensed banks operating in Albania and following the approval of BoA, the latter issued after scrutinising the notice for certification accompanied with all related data to e-banking technical and operational management, a cooperation agreement regarding bank IT support (if applicable), and a list of bank transactions to be carried out etc.
There are no additional requirements, such as a license, running costs or financial reserves strictly related to online banking.
Additional comments regarding the legal situation for online-banking services or what FinTech’s must be aware of in this business area
All authorised banks are subjects to BoA supervision, which may suspend online banking, partially or completely, due to non-conformity with applicable requirements.
In case of partial suspension, the bank is required to interrupt the services within 60 days and may restart the activity not earlier than six (6) months from the suspension date. The bank undergoes the same requirements as initial application.
In case of full suspension, the bank is required to interrupt the services within 60 days and may restart the activity not earlier than 18 months from the suspension date. The bank undergoes the same requirements as initial application.
Market size for online-banking services and biggest companies in this business area
There is no real market on online banking since such activity is provided solely by licensed banks. Banka Kombetare e Investimeve (i.e. BKT) is currently the biggest bank in Albania and consequently the most significant online banking service provider.
Additional comments regarding the economic situation for online-banking services or what FinTech’s must be aware of in this business area