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Colombia Cards & Payments Market Report

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  • Published Date: July 2020


A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Colombia.
Colombia's payment ecosystem is well-developed and a new instant payments system was launched in early 2020 which is set to develop it further.
Banking correspondents and mobile penetration are both helping to improve financial inclusion. The government is also developing policies to continue to expand digital payments, such as the policy for the discontinuation of the Financial Transactions Tax by 2022.
The impact of Covid-19 has resulted in a surge of online payment popularity throughout lockdown, while credit card spend has fallen due to restrictions on foreign travel.

What to learn from this Colombia cards market report:

How banking agents and mobile penetration are advancing financial inclusion in Colombia.
How mobile payment systems are developing.
Where digital payment opportunities lie.
Why co-brand partnerships are so important to the Colombian cards market.


  • The proportion of adults with a formal bank account grew to 74 percent at the end of 2019 from 66 percent six years earlier.
  • Banking correspondents and mobile have expanded the reach of financial services, furthering the advancement of financial inclusion.
  • The value of B2C e-commerce transactions more than trebled from 2013 to 2019. There is a significant opportunity to migrate online payments from COD and prepay to digital.
  • The number of mobile money users is expected to double between 2019 and 2021.
  • Contactless usage has gained acceptance and about ten percent of total cards' POS billed volume will be paid using this functionality in 2020.
  • The Covid lockdown has boosted digital payment volumes: from mid-March to early-June volumes processed by ACH Colombia, through its four services (ACH, SOI, PSE and Transfiya) increased by 18 percent.
  • Mastercard dominates the payment cards network market in terms of cards in issue.
  • The main challenge to Visa and Mastercard's dominance of the credit card market comes from private label cards; targeting low-income segments, these are mainly marketed by (or through alliances with) large retailers.
  • Banks in Colombia engage directly in merchant acquiring. Bancolombia and Banco Davivienda dominate the market.

Colombia Payments Research | Report Contents

Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other Colombia cards market information

Appendices: Card Payments Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e-commerce payment methods

Appendix III: Cards market data

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Contactless cards metrics
  • Argentina credit card data
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics
  • Prepaid/e-money cards metrics

Appendix IV: Mobile payments data

  • Mobile P2P payments

Appendix V: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix VI: Card networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VIII: Acquirers and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions

Appendix IX: Online acquiring data

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

Columbia Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy
The country has a relatively young population, with an average age of 31 and a quarter of the population less than half that age. Life expectancy is on a par with the other leading democracies of the region.

Payments Environment
There were 49.14 million bank-issued payment cards at the end of 2019: 16.05 million credit cards and 33.09 million debit cards. This means that there was an average of 1.31 payment cards per adult at the end of 2019.

Cards Market
As of 2019, card penetration in terms of the number of cards per 100 adults, reached 43 for credit cards and 88 for debit cards in 2019. This low card penetration suggests a strong business opportunity to grow the cards business.

Mobile Payments
In early 2020, a new instant payments system, Transfiya, was launched. As of mid-July, six financial institutions were affiliated, including MOVii and Daviplata.

Profit Pool
Pre-tax profit in the Colombian credit card industry grew 35% between 2013 and 2019, from $564 million to $761 million. Net interest revenue was the greatest single contributor to total revenue in 2019, accounting for an estimated 47.7% of the total.

Card Networks
Four international payment card networks operate in Colombia: Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club and American Express. As of December 2019, there were 19 financial institutions that
issued Visa cards and 17 that issued Mastercard cards.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
Local financial institutions are the dominant retail banking players and issuers in Colombia, with 66.5% share of cards in issue and a 67.6% share of credit cards outstandings as of December 2019.

Acquiring and Processing
The Colombian acquiring market compares favourably with some other countries in the region in that all ATM and POS networks are fully interconnected. This means cardholders can use all terminals independently of their card brand or issuer

Online Acquiring
The rate at which Colombian consumers have adopted information technology has been a key driver of the burgeoning e-commerce market. As of December 2019, 67.4% of the total population were internet users, while there were 63.1 personal computers per 100 individuals.

Regulatory and Markets Information
Central bank Banco de la Republica, commonly known as Banrep, is responsible for monetary policy and foreign exchange regulations. A banking licence issued by the Superintendency for Financial Institutions (SFC) is required to perform any deposit-taking activity.

Colombia Payments Report | Entities Referenced

ACH Colombia
American Airlines
American Express
Aval Soluciones Digitales
Banco Agrario de Columbia
Banco AV Villas
Banco Davivienda
Banco de Bogotä
Banco de Occidente
Banco Falabella
Banco Popular
Banco Serfinanza
BBVA Colombia
CMR Falabella
Diners Club
GNB Sudameri
Grupo Aval
International Finance Corporation
Itaò CorpBanca
LA 14
Pagos GDE
Pepe Ganga
Red CoopCentral
Redeban Multicolor
Scotiabank Colpatria
Servitebca Colombia
Tuya Finance Company


Reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit throughout Latin America. Analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and Latin American experts.

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