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Amid COVID-19, in Latin America, real-time payments adoption growth, however with challenges, says new yStats.com publication.

The latest publication from Germany-based desk research company yStats.com, “2021 Key Trends of the Payment Industry: Real-Time Payments in Latin America” gives insights into the current situation of real-time payments in the countries of Latin America during the COVID-19 health crisis in 2020. The publication reveals that despite the actions taken by governments and private financial organizations to increase the user base of real-time payment services in the region, customers in many countries still tend to choose traditional means of payments.

The governments of the largest economies in LatAm actively encourage citizens to switch to the new real-time payment platforms

In Latin America, providers of alternative means of payment, including those offering real-time transfers have been accumulating users rather fast in recent years. However, this has been complicated by the fact that most of the consumers in the region still prefer cash over any digital fund transfer options. Nevertheless, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposed restriction gave another impetus to digital payments in Latin America, as close to two-thirds of consumers surveyed in 13 countries of the region reported that they decreased cash usage amid the pandemic, as detailed in the yStats.com publication. With that, in November 2020, the Brazilian Central Bank introduced its real-time payment platform Pix, aiming to replace any other digital fund transfer service currently present in the country. By the year 2030, payments via the Pix system are forecasted to constitute more than one-fifth of the total electronic payments in Brazil. Similarly, in Mexico, the Central Bank, launched its mobile real-time payment platform CoDi in 2019. As of December 2020, the service has accumulated a substantial number of users, but only a small two-digit percentage of users actually have made or received fund transfers.

In countries of Latin America, the adoption of real-time payments remains fairly fragmented

In Argentina, the volume of real-time transfers has been steadily growing throughout 2020, while the increase was especially significant after the first lockdown in March 2020. The numbers reached their peak in December 2020 and were mostly driven by individuals making real-time payments. In Colombia, in opposite to that, the monthly volume of real-time payments via the local system CUB has been substantially going down since March 2020, but the Government put a lot of hope on the newly introduced blockchain-based payment platform Transfiya. Meanwhile, in Chile, the value of real-time transfers underwent a nearly four-fold increase from the first quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020, but the number of transactions remained essentially constant, according to figures cited in the new yStats.com report.