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Ecuador Cards & Payments Market Report

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  • Published Date: December 2020


A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Ecuador.
Card purchase volume reached 22 percent of total household spending in 2020, up from 17 percent in 2014.
However, the impact of the pandemic and its associated restrictions are set to reduce that volume in absolute terms for 2020, as well as contribute to a trend-breaking decrease in profitability: profit per credit card approximately doubled over the six previous years, a growth pattern forecast to resume from 2021.
New mobile money services Bimo and Bicoo arrived in 2019, replacing Dinero Electrónico, a central-bank-operated service that failed to gain traction among the unbanked and underbanked.

What to learn from this Ecuador Payments report:

How banks have responded as retailers lost issuing rights
What key regulations are reshaping payments
Which issuer punches far above its weight in outstandings
How Dinero Electrónico's failure was responded to
What needs to happen to empower the debit card


  • Ecuador's market profile suggests significant opportunities for the development of retail banking, including the promotion of payment cards to the many unbanked adults.
  • Some 60 percent of the adult population has a bank account and 88 percent a mobile phone, creating the opportunity for the development of mobile money services also.
  • Over the past six years, digital payments have gained ten percentage points in market share over cash and cheque payments in terms of total consumer expenditure.
  • Between 2014 and 2020, the number of debit cards in issue grew 69 percent, while the number of credit cards increased by a mere 15 percent.
  • Visa dominates the payment cards market in terms of billed volume and cards in issue.
  • With a combined market share of 62 percent, Banco del Pacífico, Diners Club and Banco Pichincha are the leading institutions in credit cards in issue.
  • All banks are entitled to participate in the merchant acquiring market in Ecuador, and all POS terminals have been required to accept all payment cards since 2017.
  • The marked increase in POS terminals, banking correspondents and ATMs since 2014 has contributed significantly to an increase in billed volumes during that period.
  • In 2020, the International Monetary Fund granted access to a $6.5 billion credit programme to cope with the pandemic's economic impact.

Ecuador 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 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
  • Ecuador 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

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

Ecuador Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy
The Republic of Ecuador has a relatively young population, with 29% under the age of 15 and just 8% over 64. The average age for the total population is 28.8 years, and life expectancy is 77.5 years.

Payments Environment
Ecuador's payments environment developed positively between 2014 and 2020, especially in terms of reducing the unbanked population, increasing usage of electronic channels and expanding access-points coverage.

Cards Market
Between 2014 and 2020, the number of debit cards grew by 69% while credit cards grew by 15%. For 2021, VFR forecasts around 4.8% growth for debit cards in issue and around 5.9% growth for credit cards.

Mobile Payments
Ecuador's high mobile phone density has created an opportunity for the development of mobile money services ... In 2018, the government announced an agreement with banks and savings and loans cooperatives to develop new mobile money services.

Profit Pool
The continuous reduction of the operating cost-to-revenue ratio between 2017 and 2020 has supported the continuous increase of profit per credit card from $39 in 2014 up to $83 in 2019.

Card Networks
Visa and Mastercard dominate the credit cards market in Ecuador, with competition from a sizeable number of Diners Club and American Express cards. Visa and Mastercard dominate the debit cards market with over 99% of cards in issue.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
After the US dollar was adopted as Ecuador's currency, the number of banks in the country remained relatively constant, with Banco del Pacifico as the only state-owned retail banking institution.

Acquiring and Processing
There are eleven acquirers operating in this credit cards market, including Diners Club, Banco del Pacifico, Banco Pichincha and Banco de Guayaquil. VFR estimates that they jointly hold an 88% market share of total transactions and 81% of total billed volume.

Online Acquiring
Between 2014 and 2020, Ecuador's internet business to consumer (B2C) sales grew by 6.2 times reaching $3,120 million, of which, 78% were made with payment cards.

Regulatory and Markets Information
The Ecuadorian financial system is composed of banks, financial corporations, savings and loans cooperatives, mutualists and public financial institutions. According to their regulator, banks constitute the largest and most important participants in the market.


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

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