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In 2020, Americas Market Intelligence (AMI) teamed with Mastercard to study how the COVID pandemic powerfully expanded access to the financial system for Latin Americans, mainly through economic aid in certain countries that was distributed via online accounts. This shift spurred many people to try online banking for the first time. This led to greater levels of financial inclusion and significantly reduced the dependence on cash that has been prevalent in Latin America for decades.

Recently, AMI and Mastercard looked at more recent developments in financial inclusion to see if the expansion continued beyond the pandemic. The results of this extensive study, conducted with 2,815 consumers in 7 markets (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru) and 25 top financial services companies operating in Latin America, are broken out in a new whitepaper.

Entitled The State of Financial Inclusion Post-COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean, the whitepaper can be downloaded here at no charge.

Among the key findings:

  • 100 million Latin Americans moved from only using cash to using other payment methods (as measure from the pre-COVID period to the post-COVID period)
  • 1 out of 3 Latin American adults can now be considered to be fully financially included
  • Since 2020, 82 million Latin Americans are now using digital payments more than cash
  • 51% of female survey respondents gained access to credit post-pandemic (mostly in 2022), vs. 39% of men
  • Before COVID, 25% of respondents said they used cash for 75% of their monthly expenses—but now that figure has fallen to only 15%

The whitepaper details many more compelling findings on how much financial inclusion has advanced in Latin America, while also noting an important fact: 91 million Latin Americans still don’t have digital accounts. To help reduce that number, Mastercard and AMI share a variety of recommendations for the payments ecosystem, such as:

  • Prioritizing personalization
  • Center product development on credit
  • Reconceptualizing financial education
  • Leveraging convenience and creating incentives
  • Encouraging private-public collaborations

Click here to download a copy of The State of Financial Inclusion Post-COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The State of Financial Inclusion Post-COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

A new whitepaper from Mastercard and Americas Market Intelligence details the drivers and what companies can do to continue the expansion.

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