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Paraguay Cards & Payments Market Report

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  • Published Date: September 2020


A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Paraguay, with clearsighted commentary backed by historic and forecast data.
Digital payments are slowly gaining ground on cash, boosted by the fact that the number of POS terminals more than doubled between 2013 and 2019.
We estimate that one in ten card transactions will be contactless in 2020, while debit card purchase transactions will reach over half of total debit card transactions during the following year.
Two-thirds of the population are mobile money users. B2C e-commerce transaction value will reach 2.1 percent of total household purchases in 2020, versus 0.4 percent in 2013.

What to learn from this Paraguay payments industry report:

How stakeholders are boosting the payments system.
Why payment and collection companies are pivotal.
The effects the APR cap in Paraguay.
Why debit card numbers have risen sharply.
How Paraguay e-commerce has evolved.


  • Paraguay's GDP growth declined between 2013 and 2019 and is expected to fall into negative territory in 2020 due to Covid-19.
  • In a country where just over half of adults have a formal bank account, cash is the preferred form of payment. Over 80 percent of total wages are paid in cash.
  • The infrastructure and framework to support electronic payments are well developed; however, migration from cash and cheques to electronic payments among the population has been slow.
  • Verisk Financial Research estimates that electronic payments will only gain an additional one percentage point share of total household payments over the next two years.
  • Cards are the most important household electronic payment method but come a distant second to cash.
  • Credit card profits have recovered strongly since 2016 when the full impact of a new law capping APRs was felt.
  • Visa dominates the credit and debit card network markets, followed by Mastercard.
  • Over the years, Visa and Mastercard's growth has been supported by the migration of private label open-loop payment cards.
  • Banco Itaú is the top-ranked credit card issuer, with a 27 percent market share as of December 2019.
  • Bancard, a processing company owned by major banks and finance companies, is the largest payment cards acquirer in Paraguay.

Paraguay Payments Research | Report Contents

Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Argentina cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other Argentina 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 (signature debit cards: exempt)
  • Debit card interchange fees by network (signature and PIN debit cards: regulated)

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

Paraguay Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy
Paraguay's population growth has been among the highest in Latin America, averaging 1.45% per year between 2013 and 2019. Paraguay's demographic profile can be characterised as young.

Payments Environment
The extensive use of cash provides a significant opportunity for card and electronic-based payments. According to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, three quarters of workers and retirees were paid in cash in 2017.

Cards Market
According to Paraguay's Payments Chamber (CPMP), there are 3.59 million payment cards in issue as of December 2019, split two to one in favour of debit over credit cards. There is an average of 0.71 payment cards per adult.

Mobile Payments
Paraguay has one of the lowest bancarization levels in Latin America while, at the same time, possessing a high level of mobile penetration.

Profit Pool
With profit per card estimated at $49 in 2019, Paraguay's credit cards market profitability has recovered from the effects of the 2015 law capping annual percentage rates.

Card Networks
Financial institutions in Paraguay issue nine different credit card brands. The largest pair, Visa and Mastercard, account for an estimated 71% of cards in issue and 72% of total billed volume as of December 2019. Debit card usage has seen strong growth, both at the POS and at the ATM.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
Competition in the retail banking and payment cards market is distributed between a variety of domestic and foreign financial institutions. Foreign retail banks include Banco Itau, BBVA, Banco Sudameris and Banco GNB.

Acquiring and Processing
Despite strong growth, Paraguay's point-of-sale network requires further rapid expansion to increase the use of cards for payments and reduce reliance on cash.

Online Acquiring
Online purchase volume acquired domestically reached almost $24 million in 2019, representing less than 1% of total cards' purchase volume.

Regulatory and Markets Information
The financial system in Paraguay is regulated by the Banco Central del Paraguay (BCP) through the Banking Superintendence (SIB): their conduct in this respect is governed by the Financial Institutions Act of 1996.

Paraguay Payments Report | Entities Referenced

American Airlines
American Express
Aqui Pago
Banco Atlas
Banco Central del Paraguay
Banco Familiar
Banco GNB
Banco Itaú
Banco Nacional de Fomento
Banking Superintendence
Billetera Personal
Cabal Argentina
Cabal Paraguay
Cerro Porteño
Club Cerro Porteño
Club Nacional
Club Sportivo Luqueño
Cooperativa Universitaria
Diners Club
El Comercio
EMPE Clearing House
Exa Goethe
Financiera El Comercio
Financiera Paraguayo Japonesa
Giros Claro
GNB Paraguay
Infonet Cobranzas
Instituto Nacional de Cooperativismo
Interfisa Banco
LATAM Airlines
MF Economía
Nacional Asunción
Pago Express
Pizza Hut
Scavone Group
Shopping del Sol
Sol de America
Tigo Money
Tu Financiera
Vision Banco
Visión S.A de Finanzas
Western Union
World Bank


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.

See more Latin America Country Reports or explore the full range of payments research reports available for markets worldwide or view our latest report updates.

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