efe-epaWashington

Latin America and the Caribbean have pushed forward a digital transformation in the financial sector during the coronavirus pandemic, becoming a "prudent" region with personal finances, according to a study released Thursday at the LAC Mastercard Innovation Forum.

"Latin America is at a time of momentous technology adoption, where seamless and secure payment options have become a priority," said Walter Pimenta, Mastercard's senior vice president of products and innovation for the region.

According to the report, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused important changes in the trends of Latin American consumers, who have migrated en masse to digital financial channels, have bought much more online and have reduced the use of cash.

According to the data, more than 40 million people opened bank accounts in recent months, and by the end of the year it is estimated that some 50 million users will have bought online for the first time.

The report reveals that the pandemic and social distancing have catapulted digital and financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean, making it "a priority," according to experts.

In fact, 46% of those surveyed consider saving money and another 46% already make payments online, thus showing their interest in a long-term savings mentality.

"Mastercard is a strategic ally in the digitization and transition of contactless payments and we are proud to contribute to its adoption, offering high-level services that adapt to new consumer realities," Pimienta said.

The study shows how electronic commerce "became the only way to buy," thus replacing cash, considered "dirty and dangerous."

According to the study, confinement helped e-commerce nearly double: before covid-19 it had a 45% penetration and in recent months it reached an 83% share.

In effect, electronic business transactions became the only means of acquiring physical goods, engaging in social and entertainment interactions.

This is clearly reflected in the shopper data, given that 59% of respondents reported increasing their e-commerce spending during the pandemic, with 17% of them making purchases for the first time.

By country, experts detected that online purchases increased "considerably" in Chile and Puerto Rico, countries where they grew by 57% and 48%, respectively.

Peru and Argentina progressed at the same rate, by 44%; while Colombia and Mexico, two of the largest economies in the region, saw their online purchases increase 42%.

Regarding users who bought for the first time online, Panama, Guatemala and Ecuador took the lead, with 16%, 13% and 12%, respectively.

The study was presented during the ninth edition of the LAC Mastercard Innovation Forum (November 18 and 19), Mastercard's annual event to share the vision of leaders and experts from the technology and payment media industry, who this year focused on re-energizing a successful path to the future in the post-covid-19 era. EFE

asl/hma/eat/jrh

(Photo)