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  • Writer's pictureJaime González Gasque

Digital payments continue to consolidate in Latin America in 2021

The consulting firm Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), held a webinar on the changes in Latin America during 2021, focusing on six main trends:

1.- The global market includes more and more means of payment other than cash

2.- The debit becomes the Top of Wallet for purchases.

3.- The growing domain of contactless payments and collections.

4.- Banking as an open banking service.

5.- Massive digitization of small and medium-sized companies.6.- Increase the use of cryptocurrencies in Latin America

Here we present the payment trends that have gained more strength so far in 2021: The global market includes more and more means of payment other than cash Electronic payments, transfers and purchases continue to gain followers and there is a constant growth in person-to-person payments through applications.

Thanks to technological advances, more and more, users can make transfers at any time, regardless of the day or time, through a mobile device and at no cost; also, make purchases in stores by means of a QR code.

“Consumers change the way they shop and pay only when they believe that doing so provides them with value. The pandemic has rapidly reinforced the benefits of e-commerce and contactless payments, influencing consumer behavior as they prioritize health, safety and hygiene both at home and when shopping, ”said Vanesa Meyer , Vice President of Innovation and Design for Visa Latin America and the Caribbean.

Debit becomes the Top of Wallet for purchases.

Due to the effects caused by the pandemic, debit has surpassed credit in traditional retail trade, which points to a trend towards the adoption of digital payments very outstanding in the last year, thus changing the form of payment in cash forthe option to debit your card balance, avoiding contact and facilitating transactions.This is mainly reflected in countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Chile, in which the difference between debit and credit is between 5 and 13%.As a result of the above, there will be changes in the landscape of e-commerce payment methods.The debit is above four percentage points in participation for the next three years, removing the cash-based payment methods.This is evidenced by Americans Market Intelligence:

It is also important to mention that in 2020 the volume of the e-commerce market grew, despite the economic contraction.In Latin America it did so by 8% to $ 191 billion, while the rest of the economy contracted.

The growing dominance of contactless payments and collections.

Contactless payments are making significant headway in some markets.In 2020, Chile dominated with 29 billion dollars, followed by Brazil with 18. Thanks to Covid-19, contactless payments have been massively reinforced due to the fear of contagion.These payments have grown in popularity over time and will continue to grow.Its main attraction is the ease and speed of making collections and payments, allowing sellers and users to carry out their operations with greater agility and provide better service without having any physical contact with people and elements such as dataphones.

Banking as a service of open banking.

Open banking encourages financial institutions to open their own technologies to generate interconnected systems, which allows them to be much more competitive and include sectors that could not be included before, ”says FinConecta's executive director and former global acceleration director at CitiGroup Fintech., Jorge Ruiz, who spoke at Andicom 2020 about the advantages that open banking offers for the financial system and consumers.Here are some benefits of open banking, both for financial institutions and customers:

Financial institutions:

1.-Expand access to more customers through new channels.

2.-Create new lines of income that allow to monetize the APIs.

3.-Continuously innovate with new technologies.

4.-Create an own and interconnected ecosystem between financial and non-financial institutions.


1.-Transparency in the handling of financial information.

2.-Integration of financial services to the user's daily lifestyle.

3.-Personal and real-time relationship between the financial institution and the consumer.

Massive digitization of small and medium-sized companies.

SMEs are more interested than ever in going digital.There are great opportunities that present themselves in this scenario:Sales on social networks.

Banking for SMEs.Purchase platforms.

Loans and insurance.

Pay through links (payment links)


For this to happen, an ecosystem must be created and the cash cycle broken, offering easy and inexpensive solutions. According to the AMI seminar, retailers are getting closer to being service providers for SMEs, increasing their share of the global market.

The use of cryptocurrencies is increasing in Latin America.

The rise of cryptocurrencies is a fact. They are being used more and more and more is invested in and with them. Virtual currencies make up one of the new existing technologies. They emerge as an alternative to conventional money that, in times of crisis, find their place in the world. In addition, they are easy to use and allow you to perform actions more quickly. Countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela or Brazil promote the use of virtual currencies because they are aware of their multiple benefits Statista Global Consumer Survey has carried out a survey and the results announce that the countries that use virtual currencies the most are:


One of the countries where the use of cryptocurrencies is increasing the most. In the survey it is in second place, behind Turkey. According to the results, 18% of the people who have taken the survey claim to use this new payment system.


It is in the third place on the list and, in terms of Latin American countries, it occupies the second place. It is also developing a great evolution in both the use and investment in cryptocurrencies and, as in Brazil, the percentage of people who claim to use or own cryptocurrencies amounts to 18%.

Argentina It is located a short distance from the previous countries. The reason why more and more Argentines use this payment method is the possibility of a corralito being produced. That is, to limit the available access to cash. The percentage of people who claim to use virtual currencies is 16%.


In the Central American country a great evolution is beginning to develop, however, there is still a lot of misinformation about the subject. Mexicans who claim to use or invest in cryptocurrencies are 12%.


It is one point below Mexico with 11%. The problem that exists in this country is the same as in Mexico. The lack of information makes a dent in the little confidence that is still generated regarding this new form of payment. They need more information about the advantages of using cryptocurrencies in order to increase confidence in their use

Sources: Semana Americas Market Intelligence Statista Magazine.

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