The Latin American market presents tremendous opportunities for online businesses. The World Bank estimates that more than 50 million Latin Americans joined the middle class between 2000 and 2010. About 30 percent of the populace is now considered middle class with most of the growth – 35 million people – occurring in Brazil. According to Forrester, the eCommerce in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina will continue to grow at a rate of 20 percent year-on-year until 2019. The report also indicates that business-to-consumer eCommerce sales in Brazil will increase from $17.8 billion in 2014 to $40.8 billion in 2019, making the country the most mature eCommerce market in the region.
Cumulatively, customers in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico will spend $32 billion more online in 2019 than they did in 2014.
As merchants try to find ways to draw more Latin American consumers into the online marketplace, it is important that they ensure that the necessary payment infrastructure is in place to support smooth and secure transactions. This latest installment in our series on cross-border payment services looks at the top cross-border payment services in Latin America.
Currently operating in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, allpago accepts payments from American Express, MasterCard, and Visa as well as PayPal and many major national banks in each country. Allpago offers easy integration with its versatile API and business intelligence that includes regulatory updates for eCommerce businesses. Building on the momentum of its current growth, allpago is expanding with new offices opening in Argentina, Chile, and Peru.
Part of the PayU family of companies headquartered in the Netherlands, PayU Latam allows merchants to accept local payments in seven Latin American countries with just one account and integration. The company says that 20,000 companies accept online payments using their service, including Sony and Groupon. PayU Latam provides payment services in Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.
Braspag, part of the Cielo Group family of companies, specializes in providing cost-effective payment solutions for Brazilian eCommerce businesses. They provide services such as payment processing, reconciliation, anti-fraud, tokenization, checkout, and hosted payments. Processing over 1.1 million transactions in Mexico alone in 2013, Braspag can process payments from 23 different international credit card brands and handle debit transactions in 10 countries and 32 banks.
Facilitating payments for businesses in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela, MercadoPago boasts over 90 million users of its payment services. Its MercadoLibre service allows Latin American consumers to easily pay for their eCommerce purchases at thousands of online stores using a registered credit card, fund transfer from a linked bank account, or any balance carried in their MercadoPago account.
Established in 2007, Brazilian online payment company PagSeguro is used by more than 500,000 sellers and over 40 million buyers. Owned by UOL, a leading Internet service provider in Brazil, PagSeguro offers a comprehensive solution for eCommerce vendors that includes hosting of an online store with full integration with their payment platform. PagSeguro supports more than 30 different payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, and account balance.
Mexico City-based Banwire specializes in online and mobile payments. In addition to providing payment processing for eCommerce, Banwire differentiates itself by also offering its services to non-profit organizations and schools to help them with online fundraising. The company also offers customized online eCommerce solutions to help businesses and non-profits integrate Banwire’s payment platform into existing websites.
Founded by three engineers from the University of Waterloo in Canada in 2011, Conekta, headquartered in Mexico, was created specifically with the intention to help drive and optimize eCommerce in Latin America. While Conekta offers similar services for online payments compared to its competitors, it also offers easy integration with eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento via plugins that make it simple to add payment processing without any technical knowledge.
AstroPay, with its Latin American offices based in Uruguay, has a payment platform created by developers with years of experience in online payment processing in the region. Their product team has focused their efforts on addressing the issues that customers might face when trying to pay on a foreign eCommerce website. To help online merchants manage their accounts in real-time, AstroPay provides an online Merchant Panel that can create a range of reports and graphs for detailed monitoring and tracking.
By partnering with AstroPay, U.S.-based Ripple Labs has entered the Latin American market with its distributed payment network. RippleLatam is a payment solution designed specifically for the region. The premise is simple: create a Ripple wallet, deposit funds through RippleLatam, and send money to any Ripple wallet in any currency anywhere. RippleLatam supports all currencies used in Latin America, plus other virtual currencies including Bitcoin. Using Ripple’s vast distributed network, account holders are able to access the most favorable exchange rates thanks to the Ripple protocol.
MaxiPago!, based in Brazil, supports local payments in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile and accepts mobile payments using iOS apps and card readers. This payment service provider claims an uptime of 99.99% over three years and an ability to process 4,000 transactions per second. As the only payment gateway in Latin America with its own complete test environment, maxiPago! has ensured that all transaction types for all acquirers can be accurately simulated to ensure reliable payment integration through sandbox testing.
Similar to their North American counterparts, these Latin American cross-border payment services offer assurances of high levels of security, such as PCI DSS compliance. Also, in order to remain competitive, these companies must recognize the differences in payment options and preferences in the countries where they operate. For example, in Mexico, where cash payment is still a highly preferred option, payment providers offer the ability for consumers to pay in cash at a local convenience store. And in Brazil, where the Boleto Bancário, a popular form of invoice payment, is widely used in commerce, payment companies must accept it or else risk losing business to competitors.
As more consumers adopt smartphones in Latin America, the use of mobile commerce (m-commerce) will continue to rise, so will the demand for more online and mobile payment options. This is part of a global trend that is likely to drive local economies in the region as the number of people in the middle class keeps growing.
Have you used any of these payment services in Latin America? How do they compare with other payment service providers from around the world?