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Credit Cards in Latin America and Caribbean: Financial Inclusion with Risk and Opportunity

Infrastructure, fraud, and risk hinder credit card lending in Latin America and the Caribbean

New research report by Mercator Advisory Group reviews the credit card market and competition from nonbank fintechs in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Latin America is a hotbed of payment fintechs with successful start-ups like Mercado Pago, PagSeguro, and Rappi offering free digital accounts, but will these nonbanks outpace the banking relationship? The analysis presented in Mercator Advisory Group’s latest research report, Credit Cards in Latin America and the Caribbean: Financial Inclusion with Risk and Opportunity, recognizes opportunity but warns that infrastructure can be a limiting factor in this 20-country market.

Readers will understand the challenges that bank card issuers face and how card network revenue has lagged in the market. The report’s author explains how banks and vendors can navigate the changing market.

“Most adults in Latin America have a Mercado Pago or PagSeguro free digital account,” comments the author of the research report, Brian Riley, Director, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group. “That does not mean everyone has a bank account, but new payment options make it easy to transact outside of the banking realm. Yet strong domestic and global credit card issuers operate in the market.” He continues: “There is plenty of room for growth, but risk management must contend with high default rates, unacceptable fraud levels, and a credit model that is not designed to let households comfortably revolve consumer credit card debt. Interest rates are sky high to offset operational and fraud risk.”

This research report contains 31 pages and 15 exhibits.

Companies and other organizations mentioned in this research report include: ACI Worldwide, Advent International, Alibaba, Alipay, Amazon, Banco Credito, Banco de la Nacion Argentina, Banco de Bogata, Bancolombia, Banco CBSS, Banco de Chile, Banco de Mexico, Banco do Brasil, BBVA, Boleto Bancario, Bradesco, Caixa, Cielo, Citi, Citibanamex, CyberSource, Diners Club, Davivienda, Discover, Equifax, Experian, FICO, Fitch, HSBC, Itau, Mastercard, Mercado Libre, Mercado Pago,Nubank, OXXO, PagSeguro, Rappi, Santander, Scotiabank, SoftBank, Tencent, TransUnion, Visa, VisaNet, Vision Fund, and Walmart.

Highlights of the research report include:

  • A review of network revenue, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region

  • Forecasted market projections through 2023

  • Credit card fraud rates in LAC markets

  • A deep dive into payment card markets in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru

  • E-commerce estimates through 2023

  • Perspectives on top payment fintechs in LAC region

  • Recommended strategies for credit card issuing banks