Digital banking: the solution that saves time for a country anchored to cash



In Mexico there are endless lines at bank ATMs, 78% of transactions are made in cash and only 2 out of 10 people have a credit card. A country in which digital banking is proposed as a solution so that financial inclusion increasingly covers a greater number of people. The advantages of the digitalization of the economy in Latin America have been the topic to be discussed this Thursday in the first Digital Economic Development Summit, organized by EL PAÍS and Mercado Pago in Mexico City.

Digital banking has gained its popularity thanks to focusing on the time that people do not have. Jorge Zebadúa, director of banking products at BBVA, recalled the explosion of this resource that entities make available to users of financial services. A method that more than 30 million Mexicans already use. “You no longer have to go to the branch, or waste an hour in line, you have it in the palm of your hand,” he exemplified.

The great challenge is to democratize access to financial products. “The mountain to climb”, the confidence of users to move their money in a digital environment, explained Pedro Rivas, general director of Mercado Pago. Rivas has emphasized that companies that provide digital products have the responsibility of “providing security” to both consumers and small and medium-sized businesses, the groups furthest from credit or investments.

The following panel, dedicated to how digital innovation drives financial inclusion, has addressed the challenges of ensuring that fewer people are left out of progress. And to begin, Ricardo Martínez, director of business development for Uber in Mexico, has gone back to the beginnings of the mobility company in the country. “In Uber there was no cash payment, when we launched in Mexico we did it, we have to listen to the customer” he explained. Now, the goal “is to offer users new secure payment alternatives.”

Inclusion involves facilitating from below. Ramiro Nandez, director of large alliances at Mercado Pago, has explained how a company used by more than 45 million Mexicans revolutionized the way they receive remittances. “To collect a remittance, the person has to travel more than 30 minutes, at a cost of 150 pesos.” Now they can be charged through the screen in a matter of minutes. Thanks to digitalization, solutions appear immediately to solve day-to-day problems.

The credit card, a financial product that has been on the market for 60 years, but that only 20% of Mexicans use, has been the third topic of debate. José Maceda, director of credits at Mercado Pago, has explained how only during the Good end, one of the busiest commercial periods in Mexico, the company issued more than 60,000 cards. “This product plays a fundamental role in financial inclusion, which makes the user motivated to take the money to an account,” explained Maceda.

The future is even more accessible. The credit director assumes that the following advance will occur at the end of next year: “When will physical cards stop being used? In December 2024 we will see greater product adoption contactless”.

The first Digital Economic Development Summit has united Mexico, Colombia and Chile in three conferences held between December 4 and 6, to demonstrate that technological innovation in finance must involve the inclusion of the entire Latin American society.

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