Montenegro remains closed for online payment services, and it will be the case for a while according to Ministry of Public Administration. It has been this way since June 17, 2014, when Montenegro joined the PayPal system, and since then citizens can use PayPal for sending money or receiving but not for withdrawing from their credit cards. A lot of local entrepreneurs are waiting for this step, as it is crucial for them, private enterprises and non-profit organisation to reach global markets. Although it is possible to receive and withdraw money from some alternatives such as Skrill and 2Checkout, it is still not possible to use the PayPal system yet, which is an essential payment gateway, used by many across the globe.
At this moment, Montenegro’s citizens are doomed to either open bank accounts in nearby countries where PayPal offers all services or to fake their data to withdraw money from their accounts. Those who seek to use the second option risk losing their personal or business account and all privileges offered by PayPal. It makes it difficult for many digital industries that could develop in Montenegro and whose services could be used globally.
Alternatives, such as Skrill or 2Checkout are not bad, but they are not popular among other countries, and some of them are facing a lot of problems and criticisms from their users. For example, PayPal has over 220 million users compared to 36 million users at Skrill. On the other side, Skrill has been a target for many criticisms lately, and it seems to be rejected by many customers. In 2017, around 7.6 billion transactions were processed through PayPal which is an unbelievable space for many opportunities, and besides, it is available in 100 different currencies.
But these numbers mean nothing for Montenegro if there are no changes soon. Local entrepreneurs, freelancers and others will remain out of the zone, and global market and will need to face obstacles in the way they encountered them so far. This will again stimulate the shadow economy and keep our country out of the global trends and market.
In the daily newspaper a few days ago, Mirza Muleskovic from Montenegrin Employers Federation stated:
Montenegro, as a small system, must use all the tools for promotion and expansion of exports, and therefore we consider it very useful, and in the conditions of the technological boom mandatory, to implement this system.
It explains the need for services such as PayPal and why the Montenegro economy cannot be competitive on the global market, as long as we are excluded from global trends. Usually, it is forgotten that Montenegro as a small country cannot be competitive in some traditional industries, but it has to be leader and pioneer in sectors that are the future. Digital industries and technology development should be priority number one. Maybe authorities from Montenegro could learn a lot from Estonia’s example, which is tending to become the world’s first digital nation. Or is it still Sci-Fi for Montenegro?