Issue One: Latin America and Caribbean
Country case studies: Brazil, Mexico
Company case studies: Ebanx, Itau Unibanco
The credit card industry in Latin America has had a chequered past, with a mix of heavy demand for credit coupled with challenging economic conditions. Latin America has always been faced with an array of challenges – a large unbanked population that trusts cash, high interest rates, unique local payment systems and regulations, lack of international credit card penetration and restrictions on international spend. Overall, that adds up to a very non-inclusive system for financial services. Nearly half of the population in this region is unbanked, and only 113 million out of the 625 million population have credit cards. The biggest limiting factor has been the non-convertibility of currencies, which means most of the credit cards are valid only for domestic use within the country of issue.