Interview with Filomena Pljakovska-Asprovska, Chief Executive Director of CaSys AD Skopje

Filomena Pljakovska-Asprovska is the President of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Director of CaSys AD Skopje, the only processor in the field of card operations, electronic commerce, and certified card personalization bureau in the Republic of North Macedonia with which AFD has signed a Memorandum of cooperation in education and upgrading of financial literacy. We are talking with Ms. Pljakovska-Asprovska about the experiences in 2020 under the challenges following the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the perspectives for development of digital technologies and digital channels in North Macedonia.

2020 was a year of challenges for everyone globally, especially with the onset of the Covid pandemic. How are you coping with the challenges from Covid and what measures are you taking?

As a socially responsible company and processor that offers services to commercial banks, financial institutions, and other stakeholders in the field of cards and e-commerce CaSys has taken a series of measures regarding the new Covid imposed conditions, within its scope with one goal in mind, continuity of its services and customer support.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, all the employees where the nature of the work tasks allows them to work from home, did their work tasks from home. Some of the employees, whose physical presence was necessary in the premises of the Company to ensure the smooth continuity of the processes, worked in a rotating mode of operation.

During this period, the high awareness and responsibility of all employees came to the fore, for which the management is especially grateful.

The digital technologies, including e-commerce and e-payments are of particular importance during the pandemic, how important will they be in the coming period?

As an independent processor certified by MasterCard and Visa, we consistently follow and practice internationally accepted standards of operation and comply with such standards with the sole purpose of providing a high degree of security and operational confidentiality to our customers. As a Company we continue to strive for efficient capacities for security, protection and prevention of card misuse, cooperation with all stakeholders and together with the banks to ensure e-commerce and the use of the cards as a medium to remain confidential and accessible to customers.

In that sense, it is our pride and satisfaction that in 2020 CaSys was a sponsor of an E-Commerce conference organized by AETM.

At the conferences there were many experiences, novelties, but also future important projects related to the growth and development of e-commerce shared, as well as the security of e-payment, which include tips for safe shopping online. When making an online purchase, the user should first check the website on which he/she is buying and be informed about the trader. To avoid purchases on hotspot networks and to have a verified method of payment through the website.

How would you assess the level of financial literacy, from the aspect of cyber security, and also in terms of opportunities for financial inclusion of the population in North Macedonia?

We must be honest and note that the Republic of North Macedonia has a safe, secure, reliable and resilient digital environment, supported by well-built facilities, highly qualified experts, a built-in level of trust and national and international cooperation in the field of cyber security.

All stakeholders starting from the Banks, the Financial Companies, the National Bank continuously give their maximum by organizing presentations and twinning projects. Our company also participates in events, and we are unreservedly ready to give our contribution wherever needed. We will continue to be committed to providing and developing reliable, modern and affordable solutions. Part of our mission in 2021 is dedicated to several editorials related to education and financial literacy, opportunities for financial inclusion through digital payment channels. The published content will be dedicated to the safe use of credit and debit cards, safe shopping on the Internet and the benefits of encouraging the growth of e-commerce in a way that is understandable and applicable to all types of target groups of card users.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has imposed a different way of life on us all year, has further increased online shopping around the world, and online ordering has become commonplace for even the most basic human needs such as food supplies and food deliveries to a home address.

We are following the trend and as far as the use of the cards is concerned, we can freely say that the awareness of their application is quite high, especially from a security aspect.

As a processor, what are you most proud of in the passing year and what are your plans for 2021?

In the past period in conditions imposed by the global pandemic at CaSys, in addition to ensuring continuity in the delivery of existing services to our customers, we are developing new services that will provide additional benefits. The latest services we offered to the banks were “Update ATM mobile phone number”, “Web service” (check and change of card status and ATM / POS / Internet limit directly by the cardholder) and the new card products (stickers / minitag).

Alongside all of that, through the system owned by CaSys for preventing suspicious transactions, almost all banks in our system were defined to protect and prevent card misuse. Regarding our cPay portal with which more than 60% of virtual stores on the Macedonian market operate currently, i.e 800 e-commerce traders and 29,800 registered customers and on average more than 280,000 transactions are realized per month, we have implemented a 3D security model. It allows cardholder authentication when shopping online with MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa 3D.

The new cPay functionalities enable one-step payment, two-step payment – pre-authorization and completion, refund / partial refund, Recurring payments, Card-On-File, the ability for a trader to use terminals for different brands of cards through different banks. There are plenty of benefits for e-commerce participants. There is a significant additional service for the banks that allows traders’ flexibility in operations according to the principle 24 × 7 (without limitation in working hours) for end users payment of products and services online from anywhere, without physical presence.

We are very grateful to all our clients with whom we have jointly completed projects that are of mandatory importance for MasterCard and Visa. We are also proud of our team that in conditions of a pandemic consistently and with great commitment realized all the projects on time.

In the new 2021 we expect to continue with the same dynamics of new projects and new services towards accelerated development of digital channels and payment methods.