Interview with Nikola Tchakarov

Interview

In an engaging conversation, Anastasija from Revpanda recently had the privilege to interview Nikola Tchakarov, the Head of Market Expansion at Noda. They delved into Noda’s innovative multi-currency open banking solution, its global reach through partnerships, and its commitment to prioritizing clients in the payment industry. Nikola also shared insights into balancing a demanding role, his personal interests in water sports and skiing, and his fascination with Leonardo da Vinci’s Renaissance era. Let’s explore the highlights of their conversation.

Noda is a global, multi-currency open banking solution for seamless business transactions. It operates with 1,650 banks across 28 countries, encompassing 283 bank brands with over 30,000 branches. Headquartered in the UK, Noda has additional offices in Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, and Cyprus.</br>

Noda enables merchants to receive direct bank payments from eCustomers via Open Banking as an alternative to cards. Merchants can implement Open Banking payments quickly via Noda API, using their intuitive UX and lower fees.

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov
Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich
Last Updated
20/11/23
Read Time
11 min
Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Hello Nikola, it's a pleasure to have you with us. To start, could you share a bit about your personal and professional journey that led you to your role as Head of Market Expansion at Noda?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

I am a seasoned professional in payments and marketing with over a decade of experience in the field. Currently, I am Head of Market Expansion at Noda, a leading fintech company, where I lead a dynamic team of market developers and account managers. Throughout my career, I’ve consistently delivered measurable results and driven growth for our clients.

Before my current role, I held a senior sales position at a top-tier digital agency where I collaborated with clients from diverse industries such as iGaming, finance, travel, retail, healthcare, and technology. Besides my professional roles, I am a public speaker, often presenting at industry events and conferences on payments and digital marketing strategy topics.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Can you provide more details about how Noda's multi-currency open banking solution is redefining digital transactions, and what sets it apart in the industry?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

Noda’s multi-currency open banking solution stands out due to its ability to streamline global transactions. Key features include:

  • Multi-Currency Handling: Noda simplifies foreign exchange, offering real-time rates for seamless international transactions.
  • Open Banking Utilization: Noda enables direct bank-to-bank transfers, ensuring faster, more cost-effective, and more secure transactions.
  • Top-tier Security: Incorporating advanced encryption and tokenization, Noda prioritizes transaction safety.
  • Transparency: Users benefit from a clear view of all transaction details, ensuring no hidden charges.
  • User-Friendly Design: The platform’s intuitive interface makes digital transactions easy.
  • Versatile Integration: Noda’s solution can seamlessly merge with various industry platforms.

Noda is setting a new benchmark in digital transactions with its innovative approach and user-centric features.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Noda partners with 1,650 banks across 27 countries. Could you share how these partnerships are leveraged to enhance the services and solutions you provide to businesses?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

Noda’s multi-currency open banking solution is leading the way in transforming digital transactions. With our recent integration, we’re now connected with 28 banks, greatly expanding our reach and user compatibility. One of Noda’s primary strengths is its ability to simplify international transactions by providing real-time foreign exchange rates. Furthermore, by harnessing open banking principles, Noda can offer quicker, more cost-effective, and more secure direct bank-to-bank transfers. Security remains paramount for us, and we use the latest encryption and tokenization methods to ensure it. Transparency is another cornerstone of our platform, enabling users to have a crystal-clear view of all their transaction details. Finally, Noda’s solution’s user-centric design and adaptability allow for easy integration with various industry platforms. With its innovative features and expansive integration with 28 banks, Noda is setting itself apart in the digital transactions domain.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Noda's slogan is "Your payments - our priority." What does this phrase mean to you, and how does it reflect Noda's commitment to its clients and the industry as a whole?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

The slogan “Your payments – our priority” encapsulates Noda’s unwavering commitment to our clients. This phrase signifies that the needs, concerns, and objectives of our clients are always at the forefront of our decision-making and innovation processes. It’s a testament to how we value our clients’ trust in us, ensuring that their payments are processed efficiently, securely, and transparently. Moreover, in the broader industry context, this slogan embodies our aspiration to consistently elevate the standard of payment solutions, demonstrating our dedication to individual clients and the evolution and betterment of the entire digital transaction ecosystem. In essence, we promise to deliver excellence in every aspect of our service.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Given your role in expanding Noda's market presence, what key markets or regions are you currently focusing on, and what challenges and opportunities do you see in these areas?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

In my role at Noda, our overarching objective is to make a significant impact across Europe. Within this broader vision, we’re emphasizing markets like Bulgaria and Romania. Brazil and Canada are also on our radar due to their evolving fintech landscapes. Each region presents its unique challenges and opportunities.

There’s an increasing interest in advanced payment solutions in Bulgaria and Romania, but we also navigate distinct regulatory environments and cater to specific local preferences. With its vast consumer base, Brazil offers vast potential but demands an in-depth understanding of its varied financial ecosystem. Canada, with its tech-savvy populace and progressive banking sector, is enticing. However, the competitive landscape requires us to bring a distinct value proposition.

While Europe remains our primary focus, understanding and integrating local nuances from each target country into our global strategy is crucial. This challenge keeps my role both exciting and immensely rewarding.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Globalization is a significant driver of the payment industry. Can you share your perspective on the challenges and opportunities that arise when providing payment solutions that cater to businesses and consumers in multiple countries?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

Of course, globalization greatly impacts the payment industry, bringing both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, we grapple with varying regulations across countries, cultural differences in payment preferences, currency fluctuations, and heightened security concerns due to multiple intermediaries in cross-border transactions. However, globalization also presents a chance to serve a vast, diverse market. It drives innovation, leading to more efficient and user-friendly solutions. Embracing the complexities can unlock potential growth and innovation, but success hinges on understanding regional nuances, using advanced technology, and staying adaptive in this dynamic global setting.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Digital fraud and cybersecurity threats are persistent challenges in the payment industry. How does Noda address these issues to protect both businesses and consumers using its solutions?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

Digital fraud and cybersecurity threats are indeed pressing concerns in the payment industry. Noda places a big importance on ensuring the security of both businesses and consumers. We implement advanced encryption techniques and constantly update our protocols to stay ahead of emerging threats. In addition, we utilize AI and machine learning for real-time fraud detection, enabling us to spot and counteract suspicious activities promptly. Regular audits, compliance with global security standards, and educating our clients on best practices further fortify our commitment to safeguarding all transactions. At Noda, we believe that trust is the foundation of every transaction and tirelessly work to uphold it.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

With your experience in the payment industry, what are some valuable lessons or insights that you have gained over the years and that you believe are important for industry professionals to keep in mind?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

In my time in the payment industry, I’ve gleaned several lessons that have not only shaped my approach but also been invaluable in navigating the intricacies of this dynamic field:

  1. Adaptability is Key: The payment industry is always evolving, with new technologies, regulations, and consumer behaviors emerging constantly. Being open to change and ready to pivot is essential for long-term success.
  2. Relationships Matter: It’s not just about technology; it’s also about the relationships you cultivate. Whether it’s with partners, clients, or stakeholders, building trust and understanding their needs has been a cornerstone of my success.
  3. Stay Informed: The regulatory landscape in the payments arena is vast and complex. Keeping oneself updated and ensuring compliance isn’t just a requirement; it’s a competitive advantage.
  4. Consumer Experience is Paramount: At the end of the day, our solutions serve real people. Prioritizing user experience and security ensures not just satisfaction but also loyalty.
  5. Always Be Learning: The industry is vast, and no one knows everything. I’ve always made it a point to stay curious, continuously learn, and never assume I have all the answers.

For anyone in this field or looking to join, I’d emphasize that while staying ahead of the technology curve is crucial, it’s equally important to understand the human side of the equation, be it your team, partners, or the end-users. It’s this balance that has always guided me in my journey.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Balancing a demanding role as Head of Market Expansion with personal life can be challenging. How do you maintain a work-life balance, and do you have any tips for professionals seeking to achieve this balance?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

Balancing such a responsible role as Head of Market Expansion with personal life requires attention and strategy. For me, setting clear boundaries and priorities is key. I allocate specific time for work and personal matters, giving my full attention to each aspect. Time management tools and delegating responsibilities play a vital role. Trusting your team is crucial, allowing them to take responsibility for tasks. Outside of work, I engage in activities that energize me, whether spending time with family, reading, or practicing meditation. For professionals seeking this balance, I recommend understanding what truly matters to you professionally and personally. Knowing this makes it easier to allocate time efficiently and ensures you aren’t stretched too thin in one direction. Remember, it’s a continuous journey of self-awareness and adjustment.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

If you could exchange places with a well-known figure, historical or contemporary, for a day, who would it be, and what would you do during that day?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

If I could exchange places with a well-known figure, I’d choose Leonardo da Vinci. He was a masterful artist and an inventor, scientist, and thinker far ahead of his time. I’ve always been fascinated by the Renaissance era, a time of immense discovery, creativity, and intellectual curiosity.

During that day, I’d immerse myself in his workshop, exploring his numerous sketches, designs, and unfinished works. I’d love to see the world through his eyes, to understand his thought process while sketching the anatomy or conceptualizing flying machines. And, of course, I’d take a moment to put brush to canvas, even if my artistic skills wouldn’t be near his!

Beyond the art and inventions, I’d engage with the minds of that era and have conversations with some of the great thinkers and patrons of the Renaissance. Understanding the challenges, inspirations, and motivations of that time directly from the source would be an unparalleled experience.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

Can you share any personal interests or hobbies outside of your professional role?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

Windsurfing and kitesurfing are two water sports that provide me with an incredible adrenaline rush and a deep connection with nature. The stunning coastal locations of Turkey and Greece, with their crystal-clear waters and favorable wind conditions, offer an ideal setting for these activities. With its beautiful Black Sea coastline, Bulgaria also presents a great opportunity for windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts to indulge in their passion.

When winter arrives, my enthusiasm shifts to skiing, a sport that allows me to embrace the breathtaking beauty of snow-covered mountains. The thrill of gliding down powdery slopes while surrounded by stunning alpine scenery is an experience like no other. Whether it’s the challenging terrain or the mountains’ peaceful serenity, winter skiing is an exhilarating adventure that brings me immense joy and fulfillment.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

If you were to describe the payment industry using a movie title, what would it be, and why?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

If I were to describe the payment industry using a movie title, I’d choose “Inception.” Much like the intricate layers and complexities in the film, the payment industry operates on multiple levels, each with its challenges and dynamics. Just as the characters navigate through dreams within dreams, professionals in the payment world must delve into various layers of regulations, technologies, and market intricacies. The industry constantly evolves, making it essential to think several steps ahead and adapt swiftly, reminiscent of the movie’s ever-shifting dreamscapes.

Interviewer
Anastasija Katkevich

For businesses and professionals interested in exploring Noda's solutions, what steps can they take to connect with your team and learn more about the services you offer?

Our Guest
Nikola Tchakarov

Certainly! Visit our official website for businesses and professionals keen on diving into Noda’s offerings. There, you can find detailed information about our solutions and services. If you wish for a more personalized discussion, you can schedule a consultation with our experts. You can also connect with us through our social media channels or email our sales team ([email protected]). We always prioritize client inquiries, and my team is dedicated to providing prompt responses to help you understand how Noda can benefit your operations.

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