Digitized Latin America: a tour of 5 countries
December 15, 2022
2 min read
Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia are the countries that we have covered with our Digitized Latin America report, carried out jointly with Americas Market Intelligence (AMI).
Very different countries, but with one element in common: the impressive growth of digitization and the use of fintech technologies in recent times. The industry has changed, and consumers are constantly changing. Therefore, here we will review what each of these 5 countries is up to.
Ecuador is one of the most traditional countries in terms of the financial world. Its citizens tend to remain loyal to a bank for long periods. Even though fintech companies are operating, banks are seen as the main drivers of innovation.
Today, digital payments in that country are represented mostly by credit cards, particularly in e-commerce, which added a total volume of US $3 MM in 2021. Also, cross-border transactions represent the majority of Ecuadorian electronic commerce.
The Latin American giant, a pioneer in Fintech Law and electronic commerce, continues to struggle with the use of cash in its population. Its GDP of 1,293 dollars is largely influenced by remittances sent from the United States, which accumulated more than US $43 million in 2021.
Despite its large size, a large part of the Mexican population is under-banked: almost half of the population does not have a bank account. For this reason, Mexico has experienced a boom in fintech companies for the underserved population, especially those focused on Millennials and Generation Z.
This southern country has mature and innovative banking, with a GDP per capita of approximately US$15,000. It is an attractive country for investors due to its stable currency and its macroeconomic environment. Thanks to an initiative by Banco Estado, debit cards are universally available and this has led the country to be number one in the region in penetration of contactless payments.
The fintech sector has lagged slightly, but with the entry of the 4-part payment model, new acquirers have been added and competition has increased. In October of this year, the country’s fintech regulation project was approved, joining several neighboring countries in the region.
Colombia has been a pioneer in terms of fintech innovation in recent years. From its regulatory initiatives such as the Crypto Zone to its projects to increase internet access, everything has been done so that the financial inclusion of its population increases, exceeding the 90% banking rate.
Digital wallets have also gained space, representing 76% of the population. Its e-commerce has grown surprisingly, at a rate of 25% per year, largely driven by the PSE Button, an online button that allows you to pay by bank transfer, which has led to the Colombian market having the largest share of transfers as a method of payment in e-commerce.
This Andean country had explosive growth in e-commerce during the pandemic, mainly because the percentage of the population that had never bought online was high.
Digital wallets have gained a lot of strength in that country, consolidating their presence even in the smallest businesses. Even wallets such as Yape or Bim have been used to pay subsidies and state aid and to reach the bulk of the population.
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