According to Merchant Machine, 64% of Romanians had access to the internet in 2021. Of all Romanians using the internet, 11% use the internet for online banking, which is 55% below the EU average. Additionally, Romania ranks 27th in both the integration of digital technologies and digital public services among EU countries. Another statistic showcasing the country’s readiness levels to adopt Open Banking, is the proportion of individuals using the internet for ordering goods or services. According to Mastercard’s Open Banking Readiness Index, only 26% of people fall into that category in Romania.
Romania falls under the PSD2 legislation and has adopted Berlin Group’s NextGenPSD2 standard. PSD2 is a European Directive that regulates electronic payment services and was implemented in all EEA countries in 2016 and went live in September 2019.
In their European Open Banking league, Yapily ranked Romania 2 out of 10 as Open Banking is a very low priority for regulators, and there is no guidance around implementation. There is no independent implementation body, such as OBIE (The Open Banking Implementation Entity) in the UK to standardise technical requirements and consumer journeys. This would ensure that all industry participants are aware of the direction of the ecosystem. Any other approach would be too slow to deliver considerable benefits in a reasonable timeframe.
The EU Commission has announced its intention to adopt an Open Finance regulatory framework.
According to The Global Findex Database, 69% of Romanian adults had bank accounts in 2021, leaving 31% unbanked.
In a recent study researching the Open Banking adoption among consumers, Romanian consumers scored higher than average Europeans in nearly all areas measured. 38% of Romanian consumers were interested in having their data used to develop convenient new payment methods, 33% were interested in receiving intelligent assistance to manage payments, 35% having their data used in aggregating financial information and storing it in one place, and 37% in having their data used to offer a better range or better quality of services.
Yapily states that Open Banking is a very low priority for regulators in Romania, and there is no guidance around implementation.
The Romanian Fintech Association was founded in January 2020 by 16 Fintechs. At the end of 2018, of the 49 Fintech companies operated in the local market of Romania, 37% offered retail banking services, 18% offered technology services, 6% SME Banking services, and the rest of the Fintech companies were active in the areas of insurance, corporate banking, capital markets, wealth management and support.
Romania ranks 27th in human capital among EU countries in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2022. The human capital measures digital skills, the proportion of employed people working as ICT specialists, female ICT specialists, and enterprises offering ICT training.
In 2019, the Romanian National Bank and the Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority launched Fintech Hubs to create a regulatory sandbox permitting companies to present and test their Fintech businesses or ideas for the authorities to understand and create a well-adapted legal framework that would be favourable and acceptable for players from the financial industry.