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Latin America Crypto Conquest Is Driven by Consumers Needs

Latin America’s Crypto Conquest Is Driven by Consumers Needs
51% of consumers in Latin America have already made a transaction with cryptoassets.
Latin Americans desire flexibility and convenience in digital currencies and payments and are seeking more support from their financial institutions.

The digital payments revolution that began during the pandemic is consolidating and driving Latin American interest in cryptocurrencies. 51% of consumers in the region have already made a transaction with cryptoassets and more than a third say they have made a payment for an everyday purchase with stablecoin, reveals Mastercard’s New Payments Index 2022, a survey conducted between March and April of this year among more than 35,000 people around the world.

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The New Payments Index annually evaluates consumer behavior concerning emerging payment methods. In its second edition, the study shows that financial innovation -cryptocurrencies, DeFI solutions, blockchain, NFTs- registers significant activity in the region, with consumers eager to learn more about this ecosystem.

In Latin America, 54% percent of Latino consumers are optimistic about the performance of digital assets as an investment. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Latinos want greater flexibility to use crypto and traditional payment methods interchangeably in their day-to-day operations.

“More and more Latin Americans are showing interest in cryptocurrencies and want solutions that facilitate access to the crypto world. At Mastercard, we are designing these solutions to expand digital inclusion and strengthening alliances that guarantee operability and support”, said Walter Pimenta, executive vice president, Products and Engineering, Mastercard Latin America and the Caribbean.

The survey shows that consumers in Latin America and the Caribbean would feel more confident investing (69%) and making/receiving payments (67%) in cryptocurrencies if they were issued or backed by a trusted organization. Another 82% acknowledge that they would like to have cryptocurrency-related functions available directly from their current financial institution.

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Digital payments, convenience and flexibility
Mastercard’s New Payments Index 2022 reveals that 86% of Latino consumers have used at least one emerging payment method in the past year. While 77% of Americans and 74% of Europeans prefer traditional payment methods to newer ones, Latinos are willing to use emerging methods such as biometrics, digital currencies and QR code, in addition to contactless payments.

“The future of payments is already here. Increasingly Latin Americans are turning to technology to conduct their financial transactions and this trend is expected to continue to rise, with an overwhelming 95% planning to use a digital payment method in the coming year and 29% acknowledging having used less cash in the past year”, added Pimenta.

Consumers in the region are familiar with fintechs and open banking, which allows them to conveniently manage their personal finances. Nearly 50% of Latin American consumers already use digital channels for financial activities and 78% of them are interested in flexible payment solutions that allow them, for example, to change the payment date of their bills, especially those with irregular incomes and millennials.

Biometric payments: security and convenience
When deciding which payment method to use, Latinos prioritize security (54%), but also look for the speed that financial technology offers. Biometrics is emerging as an option to find that balance between convenience and security. Three out of four Latinos say that “using biometric technologies for identity and payments is more secure than a PIN, password or another form of identification,” but concerns persist about which entities have access to their data.

People under 40 and millennials are more likely to perceive emerging digital solutions as secure. While they still use them, people who grew up in traditional banking are more wary, which is – for all players in the payments chain – an opportunity to build trust.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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