Research + Insights

Empowering SME Success

How issuing banks can navigate and leverage emerging trends in CEMEA

By Andrew Torre, Regional President, CEMEA, Visa

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are encountering unprecedented opportunities for growth. The digital revolution, characterized by the rise of online marketplaces, digital payments, and the strategic utilization of social media, has significantly expanded the operational horizon for SMEs, enabling rapid scalability. However, this era of digital prosperity also underscores a challenge for SMEs that remain disconnected from these technological advancements.

The insights from Visa's latest SME Megatrends Report underline the dual nature of this digital era—presenting both challenges and opportunities across various markets. This detailed analysis serves as a reminder of the pivotal role that issuing banks can play in this context. Beyond merely bridging the digital divide, there is a profound opportunity for these institutions to harness emerging trends to support SMEs and enrich the digital payments ecosystem, particularly in the CEMEA region.

This scenario presents a unique proposition for issuing banks. By refining their offerings to cater specifically to the needs of SMEs, banks have the potential to broaden their customer base, enhance transaction volumes, and uncover new revenue streams. Such strategic realignment not only aids in overcoming the operational hurdles faced by SMEs but also reinforces the foundations of the digital payments landscape.

Key findings from the report pinpoint several areas where issuing banks can exert a significant influence:

  • Streamlining Financial Services: By providing SME-friendly banking experiences and simplifying the KYC process, banks can make financial services more accessible to SMEs.
  • Easing Access to Funding: Offering alternative lending solutions and streamlining the loan approval process can address a critical gap for SMEs.
  • Empowering through Access to Social Media and E-commerce: Assisting SMEs in leveraging digital channels can catalyze growth and broaden their market reach.
  • Facilitating Digital Transformation: Supporting SMEs in the adoption of digital tools for enhanced business management can lead to greater operational efficiency.
  • Expanding Opportunities via B2B Marketplaces: Tailoring solutions to the specific needs of SMEs can unlock new avenues for business and streamline their operations.

At Visa, we view these challenges as gateways to innovation and growth for issuing banks. With our robust insights, cutting-edge technology, and extensive network, we are well-equipped to support our partners in seizing these opportunities. Our commitment is to foster a collaborative environment where everyone can thrive in the digital age, a promise that encompasses every player in the ecosystem, no matter how large or small.

The time to act is now. Embracing this opportunity means transforming the landscape for SMEs, driving forward innovation and growth across regions. Visa is dedicated to facilitating this journey for issuing banks, ensuring a future where digital empowerment and economic progress converge.

Read market-specific insights and recommendations on how issuing banks can leverage emerging SME megatrends in Visa’s SME Megatrends Report through the links below:



Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe

North Africa and Pakistan




Central Asia


South-East Europe


Tag: CEMEA Tag: Financial Inclusion Tag: Payment trends Tag: Global Perspectives