The dawn of fintech in Latin America: landscape, prospects and challenges

BIS Papers  |  No 112  | 
05 November 2020

Fintech in Latin America is greeting the dawn. We take stock of how it is transforming financial services in the region. First, we describe the fintech landscape in terms of investment, firms and services provided. We find that fintech has quickly gained traction in Latin America, mainly in the areas of payments and alternative finance. Second, we evaluate the prospects for fintech by exploring the institutional framework to supervise and regulate it. We show that fintech regulation in the region takes an activity-based approach rather than an entity-based one, except in Mexico. Finally, we present the challenges that fintech faces in becoming a game changer for the region. We conclude that fintech can be a strong catalyst to improve financial and social conditions in Latin America by incorporating the unbanked into the financial system and providing alternative sources of finance to firms. 

JEL classification: E58, G18, G23, G28, O30, O38.

Keywords: fintech, financial services, regulation, financial inclusion, crowdfunding, fintech credit, alternative finance.