Check out what happened in the world of science and international politics in Q1 2024!
Knowledge article main photo
6-digit code that turned the payment system upside down – the history of BLIK

The history of mobile payments dates back to the 1990s, when the Japanese began using a mobile payment system – customers could make payments using their cell phones. This system is “DoCoMo,” and was introduced by Japan’s largest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo. In 2000-2002, the Finns began using a similar mobile payment system called “MobilePay” – it allowed payments via cell phone, and customers could send money to others via SMS. Today, there are many different mobile payment systems that offer different features and payment methods. In some countries, such as China, mobile payment systems are more popular than traditional payment methods such as credit cards or cash. And how does this system look like in Poland?

How did it all begin?

BLIK was established in 2015 as a joint project of six Polish banks: Alior Bank, Bank Millennium, ING Bank Slaski, mBank, Santander Bank Polska (formerly BZ WBK) and PKO BP. The aim of the project was to create a modern mobile payment system that would allow customers to make payments conveniently and quickly using their cell phones. The cooperating banks decided to join forces to create a unified mobile payment standard that would be supported by most ATMs, online and mobile banking. Moreover the customers of different banks would have access to a single, consistent mobile payment system. Currently, BLIK is available to customers of many banks in Poland – it allows payments both in stationary stores, online, as well as cash deposits and withdrawals from ATMs and instant transfers to a phone.

Gaining popularity

BLIK is a mobile payment system that is steadily gaining popularity among users in Poland. In the first 11 months after its launch (by the end of 2015), almost 2 million transactions were made using BLIK. However, over the next 5 years (until 2020), the number of transactions increased significantly, reaching as many as 351 million payments. It was a time that proved to be a real revolution for BLIK – in 2020, users carried out a total of as many as 424 million transactions. The best confirmation of the success of this payment method was the billionth BLIK payment, which took place on May 9, 2021 at 9:27 pm on, through the IKO mobile application offered by PKO Bank Polski. [1] According to data from the end of 2022, the BLIK solution was used by nearly 13 million users, who completed more than 1.2 billion operations, with a total value of 163.9 billion PLN. [2]

BLIK was created as a collaboration of banks that competed with each other on a daily basis. They recognized the growing popularity of online shopping and the development of mobile devices. The goal was to introduce an innovative and easy-to-use mobile payment system that could become a standard in Poland and be recognized on the international market. The ambition was and still is to streamline users’ daily financial operations through easy and secure payments. BLIK has grown dynamically and efficiently from the very beginning. In a short period of time, large coverage was built, which today includes nearly 100 percent of stationary and online stores, as well as ATMs. In 2015, it was a completely new payment system, so the focus was on educating users and showing the benefits of this payment method. 8 years of work and an effective strategy brought results and BLIK is today one of the most popular payment methods, with nearly 13.5 million users of banking mobile apps. The main expectations of users were – and still are – speed of payment, its widespread acceptability, extensive functionalities, convenience of execution and security of transactions. One important element is a payment experience that is consistent across all channels. As a result, BLIK has become a common payment standard in Poland

Magdalena Kubisa, Director of Business Development at BLIK

Black Friday how willing are Poles to use payment services during sales?

In Poland, Black Friday usually lasts the whole weekend – some stores extend promotions even for the whole week. During this time, stationary and online stores offer price cuts on products such as electronics, clothing, cosmetics, home goods, and even cars or airline tickets. The event takes place on the last weekend of November. 

In 2022, During the four days encompassing the two marketing events – Black Friday and Cyber Monday, BLIK users conducted nearly 15 million transactions with a total value of more than 2 billion polish zlotys. The most important part was online shopping, with 11 million transactions worth PLN 1.6 billion, and the most payments were made during Black Friday, November 25, 2022. [3]

  • Are there noticeable changes in BLIK users’ payment decisions, given rising inflation and environmental awareness?

Poles are conscious consumers who look for attractive deals and choose the best options for themselves. Some of them are increasingly shopping online, as inflationary pressures prompt them to look for cheaper products. In online stores, users have many promotions and can compare prices to choose the most favorable one for themselves. Statistics show that BLIK is the most popular payment method in e-commerce, thanks to the convenience, speed and security of the transaction

Magdalena Kubisa, Director of Business Development at BLIK

Increasing BLIK’s visibility on the foreign market

In 2018, Polski Standard Płatności (PSP), which owns BLIK, entered into a strategic partnership with Mastercard, an international mobile payment network. As part of this cooperation, PSP has gained access to Mastercard’s infrastructure and the ability to expand its payment service offerings to its customers. The partnership allows BLIK users to make contactless payments worldwide.

The mobile payment system operator has been consistently striving to expand its business outside the country. In 2023, the company received approval from the National Bank of Slovakia to acquire Slovakian company VIAMO. And in the first quarter of 2023, the organization announced its debut on the Romanian market – the second largest market in Central and Eastern Europe. Under the newly formed company (BLIK Romania), the company plans to develop the romanian lei (RON) settlement system and make it available to all issuers and settlement agents operating in the market there. [4] Similarly to  Poland, the operator in Romania wants to introduce innovative solutions to facilitate transactions. By providing its know-how and advanced technology, BLIK Romania wants to help clearing agents adapt to the changing needs of the market.


[1] Historia 6 lat sukcesów płatności BLIK

[2] BLIK zaklasyfikowany przez NBP do grupy „istotnych systemów płatności detalicznych”

[3] BLIK bije kolejne rekordy – liczba transakcji w Black Friday powyżej 5 mln

[4] BLIK Romania S.A. – kolejny rynek w zasięgu BLIKA

This article has been authorized by Ewa Wysocka, PR Specialist at BLIK and Magdalena Kubisa, Director of Business Development at BLIK.

Title picture:

Zuzanna Czernicka
I am deeply immersed in the dynamic world of banking and FinTech. My focus encompasses critical areas such as foreign exchange, payments, and the cutting-edge landscape of FinTech regulation. My academic interests span a broad range of topics including electronic payments, Open Banking, blockchain impacts, the DeFi ecosystem, NFTs, ICOs, and tokenization. I am dedicated to understanding and analyzing the new regulatory frameworks shaping the FinTech world. Currently, I am writing my Bachelor\'s thesis on the robo-advisory services. This work reflects my commitment to understanding and contributing to the regulatory frameworks that are vital for the growth and governance of emerging financial technologies.
Written by:

Zuzanna Czernicka

Leave a comment