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Fintech Startups Quadruple in Five Years: New Study on Kazakhstan’s Market Released


ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN – JULY 3, 2024 – RISE Research, in collaboration with the National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan, Mastercard, and Tarlan Payments, has conducted an extensive analysis of Kazakhstan’s fintech market. This study included a comprehensive survey, with participation from over 100 companies specializing in financial and payment technologies.

According to the data obtained, Kazakhstan is leading the development of digital finance among CIS and European countries*. In May 2024, the share of non-cash payments in Kazakhstan reached a record high of 89%. Additionally, from 2019 to 2023, the number of active online banking users increased 4.6 times, growing from 5 million to 23.1 million.

“Kazakhstan is a global leader in the development of cashless transactions. Over the past five years, the number of non-cash transactions has increased more than twenty-fold, now accounting for 89% of retail turnover. Competition drives the market to enhance services and introduce innovations. Transparent ‘game rules’ and equal access to the Digital Financial Infrastructure, overseen by the National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan, are fundamental to fostering this competitive environment. We intend to continue supporting and developing innovative solutions to ensure that end consumers benefit from better, more economical, and convenient financial services,” said Binur Zhalenov, Chairman of the National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan.

The growth of the fintech industry is bolstered by the advancement of the country’s venture capital sector.  Over the past five years, the number of fintech startups has reached a total of 200 companies, solidifying Kazakhstan’s position as a leader in attracting venture capital investments. The industry accounted for 40% of all venture capital financing in Kazakhstan in 2023.

“Kazakhstan strives to become the leader in the region in terms of fintech development, and Mastercard has been supporting this goal for many years. We have observed rapid growth in this sector in recent years: new payment solutions such as tokenized payments, fintech solutions for SMEs, artificial intelligence and Blockchain projects, investment platforms, digital insurance products, and much more are actively developing. In this report, together with our partners, we aimed to understand the Kazakhstan experience in fintech development and analyze the main trends for the near future. We hope this research will aid in the development and implementation of projects that expand the supply of innovative fintech products to Kazakhstanis, as well as attract investments in the industry,” said Sanzhar Zhamalov, Mastercard, Country Manager in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

The banking sector remains the main driver of the development of financial and payment technologies in the country. Meanwhile, over the past five years, the number of non-banking fintech startups has quadrupled. More specialized areas have emerged, including crypto exchanges, eKYC, AML, anti-fraud, and digital lending, indicating the expansion and deepening of the fintech ecosystem and the growing sophistication of market participants. 

“According to the report, both international payment systems and local solutions are actively used in this country. This confirms the high level of integration of our market into the global financial ecosystem and the readiness of local players to enter the international arena. I believe fintech companies in Kazakhstan have every chance and opportunity to achieve this,” said Andrey Sedenko, CEO of Tarlan Payments.

The maturity of the Kazakh fintech market is also evidenced by a key trend of recent years: the synergy between traditional banks and startups, including those in fintech, e-commerce, and other sectors. In these collaborations, banks act as key partners and investors. The market’s development throughout its history has been accompanied by the active role of regulators. This includes legislative reforms, programs, and strategies, as well as the creation of a digital financial infrastructure, all of which have played a key role in stimulating the growth and development of the fintech sector.

According to experts, the development of the fintech ecosystem in Kazakhstan has been ongoing since the country gained independence. However, the last eight years have been particularly significant due to regulatory measures, notable events, and key initiatives. 

“The study provides a comprehensive analysis of the industry, including a map of the main players and seven key fintech trends. We have consolidated all the information into one report to visually depict the market landscape and serve as a valuable tool for both foreign and domestic financial and technology companies. It is crucial for fintech market players not only to observe current trends but also to actively engage with them, stay ahead, and set the pace in the market. Banks should implement BaaS, collaborate with fintech startups, and integrate Govtech and AI tools into their processes,” said Ainur Zhanturina, founder of RISE Research.

Among the main trends shaping the country’s fintech market right now, experts highlight:

  • Artificial intelligence;
  • Govtech & Fintech synergy;
  • Digital products & services for SMEs;
  • Buy now, pay later (BNPL);
  • Central bank digital currencies (CBDC);
  • Digital assets;
  • Financial APIs.

The full study is available in English at the following link.

About companies:

RISE Research is a company specializing in market analysis, research, and consulting services in the areas of fintech, venture capital, startups, technological ecosystems, and trends in the CIS and Central Asia regions.

Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is a global technology company in the field of payments.  The company’s mission is to shape and strengthen an inclusive digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions secure, simple, smart, and accessible.  Using secure data and networks, partnerships, and enthusiasm, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, government agencies, and businesses realize their potential.

The National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan conducts interbank payments and money transfers, and manages interbank clearing, ensuring the functioning of the national payment system. Additionally, it focuses on creating and developing research expertise, prototyping, and implementing pilot projects in the field of financial and payment technologies.

Tarlan Paymentsis a payment system in Kazakhstan. The company collaborates with the largest banks in the country, including Halyk, Zhusan, and Kaspi. Over 20 million transactions pass through the system every month.