From bus rides to border payments: how fintech is changing the world


TFN Fintech Talk with Michalis Michaelides of BPC

In our latest TFN Fintech Talk, we had the pleasure of speaking with Michalis Michaelides, Director of Sales and Business Development at BPC, renowned as the ‘globetrotter in fintech’. This discussion took place during the IFGS 2024 conference, where Michaelides shared his extensive 24 years of experience and insights into BPC’s operations in over 120 countries. He delved into his journey, the challenges facing fintech, and the trends shaping its future.

From Institutional Payments to Personal Wallets

Michaelides, a veteran in fintech long before the term was coined, shared his extensive background in payments, spanning more than 25 years. “I have had a long journey in payments,” he recounted. “BPC was founded in the mid-90s as a software house.” Over the years, BPC has diversified its offerings to include risk management and ecommerce solutions, meeting evolving market demands. “We now serve various market needs, including issuing and acquiring banks and new areas like marketplaces.”

BPC’s expansion into new sectors, such as transit payments, highlights their growth. “Our expertise now powers contactless and cashless travel,” Michaelides explained. “We provide end-to-end integration for journeys across multiple modes of transport.” This capability has enabled BPC to establish a global presence, with their SmartVista Platform supporting banks, issuers, and governments in managing end-to-end transactions across 120 countries.

With Michaelides’ extensive experience and BPC’s global reach, he is well-positioned to address the regulatory challenges fintech faces. “The regulatory system and its changes create difficulties for those navigating new or different regimes,” he said. “It impacts the whole ecosystem—our clients, our friends, and ourselves.”

Adaptability is key, according to Michaelides. “We need to be extremely flexible to work across various geographies,” he emphasized. Understanding clients’ needs is also crucial. “We engage in upfront conversations with our clients to determine the best approach for them.”

Michaelides identified several trends that will continue to influence fintech. While AI is often cited as a major trend, he noted that AI has long been integrated into the payments domain. “AI will remain a defining trend,” he said, adding that other important trends include digital wallets and international payments.

“Cross-border payments are a significant trend,” he observed. “Digitizing payments aims to make moving money across borders faster, cheaper, and more efficient.” This trend also promotes financial inclusion by delivering money more effectively to areas in need.

Collaboration in risk management is another trend Michaelides highlighted. “Risk management has always been crucial,” he said. “We work with partners and integrate with specialists to enhance our risk management solutions.”

Embracing Constant Change

Michaelides’ main takeaway reflects the dynamic nature of fintech. “The only constant in this business is change; things will be evolving constantly,” he stated. He encouraged the fintech industry to use its imagination to shape the future. “With the rapid pace of technological change, the industry will continue to evolve,” he said. Reflecting on how mobile payments have become ubiquitous in just a decade, he mused, “Who knows how we will be transacting ten years from now?”

Watch the full interview with Michalis Michaelides below to gain more insights into the future of fintech.