From newly financially included users to new fintechs and services seeking financial institution licenses, the pandemic led to unprecedented digitization in countries such as Colombia and Mexico. Colombians Rappi and Davivienda and Mexico's Oxxo have their eyes set on the prize.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the digitization of an unprecedented number of activities in Latin America, financial services also gained an extra pace, as consumers sought new ways of paying, transacting – or even receiving emergency funds. In Colombia, over 5 million new savings accounts were opened from March to September 2020, according to Superintendencia Financiera, the Colombian government agency in charge of overseeing financial regulation. According to Banca de las Oportunidades, a Colombian national policy, the latest data from September shows that 31.6 million Colombians – or 87.1% of the country’s adult population – have access to a banking product or service. “The path towards digitizing financial activities requires the encouragement of innovators in the financial sector and fintechs, but also of public policies that enable their development. Regulations and guidelines that allow the existence of activities such as digital payments turn out to be fundamental,” Diego Herrera, financial markets lead specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), tells LABS.