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A wide-ranging overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Uruguay, with clearsighted commentary backed by recent data.
As part of the liberalisation wave sweeping the region, acquiring exclusivity is due to come to an end in Uruguay shortly. Regulators have recently introduced caps on debit and credit card MSCs. Even before the pandemic, debit cards had exceeded one card per adult in 2018, while contactless cards, introduced in that year, will reach an 18% penetration of payment cards in 2020.
How the payments environment been transformed
The role of strategic alliances and new regulations
What has driven credit card profitability
The evolution of electronic payments
Key issuer category distinctions
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Demographics and the economy
Uruguay cards market
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other Uruguay cards market information
Appendices: Card Payments Data
Appendix I: Demographics and the economy
Appendix II: Payments environment
Appendix III: Cards market data
Appendix IV: Mobile payments data
Appendix V: Profit pool
Appendix VI: Card networks
Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers
Appendix VIII: Acquirers and processing
Appendix IX: Online acquiring data
Demographics and Economy
Uruguay's economy enjoyed positive, if erratic, growth between 2014 and 2019. The variation was the result of global and regional economic trends, especially in the case of its main trading partners, Brazil and Argentina.
Uruguay's payment market has evolved positively between 2014 and 2019, especially in terms of reducing the unbanked population, increasing usage of electronic channels and expanding access points coverage.
VFR estimates that as of June 2020, 42% of the adult population possesses a credit card. With 3.62 million credit cards in issue, each cardholder holds three credit cards on average ... Between 2014 and 2020, debit card POS purchase volume increased15 times.
Uruguay's high mobile phone density has opened the opportunity for the development of electronic money services ... VFR estimates that mobile payments and P2P transfers will reach $544 million in 2020, with an average transaction value of $91.
With profit per card estimated at $46 at the end of 2020, Uruguay's credit cards market is an attractive one. Profit per card grew by almost 1.9 times between 2014 and 2020 due to higher APRs and credit card fees.
Uruguay's credit cards market is led by Visa and Mastercard. Other players include OCA, American Express, regional card largest debit card issuer in Uruguay, BROU, Mastercard dominates the network-branded debit cards market
Key Retail Banks and Issuers
The top four issuers – Itau (including OCA), Scotiabank (including Pronto!), Santander (including Creditel) and BBVA – accounted for approximately 85% of the country's credit cards in issue in 2020 ... the result of numerous mergers and acquisitions.
Acquiring and Processing
While acquiring exclusivity currently prevails in Uruguay, with VisaNet and Fiserv predominating, this market is soon set for liberalisation of the acquiring space ... this will most likely begin during 2021.
Online transactions paid for with cards grew about fivefold between 2014 and 2020, reaching almost $500 million in the latter year. VFR forecasts an additional 32% growth in 2021.
Regulatory and Markets Information
Propelled by key provisions in 2014's Financial Inclusion Law, Uruguay strongly developed its retail payment systems in the second half of the decade just ended.
Banco de la República Oriental del
Banco Itaú Uruguay
Cámara de la Economía Digital de Uruguay
Central Bank of Uruguay
Clearing de Informes
Montevideo Stock Exchange
MoRe Mobile Remittance
Mortgage Bank of Uruguay
Nuevo Banco Comercial
Organización de Crédito Automático
Redes de Pagos y Cobranzas
Sistema de Pagos Electrónicos
Superintendence of Financial Services
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