How Fintech Is Transforming Financial Inclusion in Mexico
How Fintech Is Transforming Financial Inclusion in Mexico
Fintech is disrupting the financial services industry by creating a digital alternative to traditional institutions. Fintech companies use innovative technologies and data analytics to facilitate access to banking and financial services, including payments, loans, and insurance.
There is still a significant percentage of the world’s population that is excluded from the financial ecosystem and does not have access to platforms that allow them to track their spending, save money, or use other banking services.
The percentage of adults making digital payments increased globally from 26% to 51% between 2014 and 2021, but in Latin America and the Caribbean, this number increased from 5% to 20% over the same period. The increase in account ownership in LAC is largely due to greater access to mobile money accounts, which has made financial products more accessible to women, low-income groups, and other excluded sectors.
Financial Inclusion in Mexico
In Mexico, in 2021, over 40% of the population was considered financially excluded, according to the ENIF survey. This means that they do not have access to formal financial services such as banking, saving, credit, and insurance. However, fintech has been playing a critical role in improving financial inclusion in the country by bringing financial services to the previously unbanked. This has forced large financial institutions to reevaluate their business practices, resulting in 16.8 million adults in Mexico having access to banking services through fintech platforms in 2020.
According to the Mexican Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), financial inclusion in Mexico has four fundamental components:
- Access: Infrastructure available to offer financial services and products.
- Use: Acquisition or contracting by the population of one or more financial products or services.
- Consumer protection: New or existing financial products and services are under a framework that guarantees transparency of information, fair treatment, and good practices.
- Financial education: Aptitudes, skills, and knowledge that the population acquires in order to be able to correctly manage and plan their personal finances.
The World Bank reports that financial inclusion in Mexico has advanced due to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, whose main policy goal is to allow 77% of the Mexican population to hold at least one financial product by 2024, compared to 68% in 2018.
More than $200 million in loans have been given out in the last five years, primarily to residents in rural and marginalized communities. However, there is still a significant percentage of the population that doesn’t have access to essential financial products and services like savings accounts, credit, insurance, and pensions.
This leaves a large portion of the population vulnerable to financial shocks, such as job loss or illness, and unable to save for important life events like education or retirement. Fintech is playing an important role in transforming financial inclusion in Mexico and bridging this gap.
Fintech companies use specialized software and algorithms to bridge the gap between those with access to financial services and those without. As more people access the Internet through their mobile devices, fintech companies are able to reach a wider audience and offer their services through user-friendly mobile apps, making digital banking more accessible and affordable for people living in rural areas, low-income households, the elderly, or those working in the informal sector.
In March 2018, Mexico published the Fintech Law after the number of financial technology companies grew by 50% in the previous two years. The Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público or SHCP), the Mexican Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), and the Central Bank (BANXICO) are the main regulators of this sector. The law aims to foster financial inclusion, provide greater legal certainty for users of fintech services, and generate more competition in the market.
Fintech regulation has placed Mexico at the forefront of regulatory issues and consolidated its position as a pioneer in the field. By 2021, there were around 512 fintech startups in Mexico, making it the second largest fintech ecosystem in Latin America after Brazil.
Their competitive advantage is the specialization in some products to meet different sectors, segments, and market needs, such as payments and remittances, loans, corporate financial management, among others. As we can see in Figure 1, Business and Consumer Lending is the subsector with the highest market share, coinciding with credit cards, which are the products for which fintechs are best known today.
The sectors with the highest market share are Loans (21%) and Payments and Remittances (18%). A good example of those with a presence in Mexico are Nubank and Clip.
- Clip, as one of the leading companies, was the first terminal in the country (mobile and non-mobile) to accept all payment methods, pioneering innovation in business payment methods in Mexico. This helps SMEs increase their sales and have better control of their finances without paying high rates and commissions.
- Nubank, the largest neobank (which operates exclusively online) in Latin America, has a presence in Mexico, offering their first product: a credit card without annuities, acceptable in all businesses, and without long waiting times for approval.
Nu Mexico is a company that has made a special effort to bridge the financial inclusion gap, as reported in 2022; 46% of its clients report a monthly income of less than 10,000 pesos; 1 in 3 customers over the age of 65 did not have a credit card before Nu card; its clients are located in 80% of the priority rural municipalities for the federal government.
Future Prospects for Financial Inclusion with Fintech
Financial inclusion has been a hot topic in Mexico, and fintech has played a key role in driving change. As more of the population gain access to internet connections and financial services, it is important to take a look at the future prospects of financial inclusion with fintech in Mexico.
Offering individuals financial products like bank accounts and credit cards through their current smartphone service is one method of increasing financial inclusion. In Mexico, 67% of people over the age of 15 had smartphones in 2020, and that number is expected to rise to 74% by 2025. However, only 32% have made or received digital payments. This presents a significant opportunity to improve accessibility through digitized services. It is also important that both traditional financial institutions and fintechs continue to work together to re-educate people on the benefits of using electronic money; this not only expands access to financial services but also helps boost economic growth and reduce inequality.
In conclusion, the outlook for fintech and financial inclusion in Mexico is positive. The industry has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by favorable regulatory policies, increasing smartphone penetration, growing demand for digital financial services, and a focus on reaching underserved populations. With continued innovation and expansion, the fintech industry is expected to play a key role in promoting financial inclusion and economic growth in Mexico in the years to come.
Author: Meliza Rivas