The first panel of the forum “Fintech, the road to financial inclusion” dealt with the growth of new forms of technology in the Colombian financial system.
Ana María Prieto, director of payment systems at Banco de la República, started the conversation by assuring that there is a digitalization of the sector through new technologies. The country has incipient business models and collaborative systems in fintech that are changing the landscape of the traditional offer.
She added that there has been significant growth in the region. She cited Brazil as an example, which has achieved that almost 90% of the adult population uses new payment systems for daily transactions.
“The fintech landscape adds other innovative use cases such as collection, government payments, and business-to-business transactions. Here we see the focus of the arrival of fintech providers. The fintech industry has had a good consolidation in the region and in Colombia. We are the third country with a mature industry, and in the case of the Latin American region there is a very special focus on the payments sector,” she said.
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Marcela Jácome, business development leader said that more than 98% of fintech companies in Colombia are native, which is an opportunity for growth in new sectors
María Mercedes Agudelo, vice president of Colombia Fintech, complemented the data presented at the forum by revealing that between 2020 and 2021 the installation of companies generated an 80% increase in downloads of this type of applications.
For his part, Julián Ramírez Angulo, manager of analytics and customer experience at Su Red, stated that the sector and the company seek to get closer through payment alternatives and deliver value to the community with the advantages offered by the financial system.
“There is a conjunction of actors that has to work for this, the state, the sector, the chain, but all this does not work if we do not understand the needs of that same civil society,” Agudelo assured. The expert said that the sector must maintain “simplicity” and generate controlled growth in the sector.
Regarding the role of digital wallets, Jácome said that seeks financial inclusion. “For us, it is very important to have the allies of more than 30,000 banking correspondents where they receive cash and can recharge the digital wallet,” he said.
About Su Red’s trajectory, Ramírez Angulo explained that the company was born as an organization focused on payments and money transfers. Its services have focused on the digital arena amid new changes in the sector. “We are also key operators in the payment of subsidies such as solidarity income,” he added.
Jácome highlighted that 51% of customers are women and 60% of users are captured by digital marketing, which is a sign of the power of the internet in banking through fintech.
Regarding financial inclusion in Colombia, Liza Villabona, vice president of digital transformation at Crezcamos, believes that informal credit continues to be a major problem that undermines the financial system. She estimates that around five million people access the method known as “drop by drop.” “There is a concept that we like to promulgate and it is the triangle of inclusion, which is to know, make viable, and accompany.
Agudelo said that support is reflected in reaching cities and territories where a banking correspondent or conventional banking entities do not reach. “It is important that the government also supports the Internet in those places. They are very open to work and listen to us, they have been comprehensive with all the requests that have been made to them,” he said.
One of the conclusions of the panel discussion is that the fintech sector must “learn to cooperate with traditional banking.”Digitalization came to the financial system as a complement, an additive to the conventional system to grow in the country’s financial demand.
“While these efforts we need in the development of connectivity are taking place, the sector cannot stand still,” said Ramirez.
Use of digital wallets reached 76% in Colombia
The study “Digitalized Latin America” by Kushki and Americas Market Intelligence revealed this year that the penetration of digital wallets in Colombia is 76%. Daviplata, Nequi and Movii are the main companies that have managed to connect the majority of the population with online payments.
Adherence to these payments is due to the acceptance of QR codes, social benefit payments, bill payments, mobile recharges, and remittances. The same study revealed that the banking penetration rate in Colombia exceeded 90%.
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First published in LR LA REPUBLICA, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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