Issue Three: Latin America and Caribbean
Country case studies: Mexico, Argentina
Company case studies: Konfio, Mercado Libre
Fuelled by the growth of the online digital marketplace, consumer demand for fast, secure, frictionless and low-cost transactions has necessitated a change in the LatAm payments landscape. Traditionally, the online market is a difficult one for SME online merchants to enter as they lack the bargaining power of larger firms, but with ever-increasing acceptance of the digital space as the marketplace for trade, SMEs in the region are adopting digital payments. A major stumbling block for SMEs is access to cost-effective cross border payments as there is still a gap between what banks provide and what SMEs need, with a lack of a regional infrastructure that is integrated with the global marketplace. To help merchants and consumers to adopt online commerce in a big way, payment providers need to remove barriers such as fluid FX rates, restrictions on cross-border transfers and slow settlement timescales. SMEs no longer need to settle for the traditional solutions if these are no longer serving them well, as there are now new offerings that will reduce costs, improve transaction speed and provide better rates. Of course, with the growth of the digital market comes the added risk of fraud. And this region is particularly vulnerable to fraud. Providers must, therefore, be able to assure merchants that they are protected and can carry out their transactions safely. Regulators also need to provide reassurance to the firms in the industry. The rapid growth of 'gig' economy or 'shared services' is leading the transformation of businesses in the region to digital economy.
The report includes: