In the global landscape of payment solutions, Latin America is an interesting case study. While many of its countries are still struggling through recession—and the lowered consumer confidence that comes with it—the payments industries in major markets like Brazil and Mexico are booming.
Within the last decade, the growth of card-based transactions over cash in Latin America has reshaped the relationship between consumer and merchant. While the unbanked population of Latin America still hovers around 70%, according to an Americas Market Intelligence report, there is an emerging trend of cashless transactions amid the major market countries. The preference for plastic over cash isn’t the only thing powering that trend—innovative payment technology is also sweeping the region.
While Latin American banks struggle to acquire new customers, mobile network operators (MNOs) in the region are having no such problem. According to the same Americas Market Intelligence report, smartphone penetration in Latin America has risen from 20% in 2013 to a projected 44% in 2017. With almost half of the population using smart devices, the opportunities for mobile-based payment options in Latin America are becoming greater.