Less than 6 months after its launch in Mexico’s markets, the Argentina-based Fintech firm Ualá has managed to issue over 100,000 debit cards in the country.
Ualá provides a user-friendly app and various tools for effectively managing personal finances. In a recent interview with El Economista, Ricardo Olmos, Country Manager of the company in Mexico, stated that Ualá plans to promote greater financial inclusion while “reducing the use of cash.”
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many more conumers are now conducting transactions online. In Mexico and other parts of the world, there’s been a steady rise in digital transactions, Olmos noted. However this might not be enough to support a digital-first economy.
A report released by the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO), with assistance from Netquest, reveals that just 3 out of 10 or merely 30% of Internet users in the country are accessing digital financial services. This suggests that there’s a lot more that needs to be done to onboard Mexican consumers. The launch of more Fintech companies like Ualá could help further expand Mexico’s economy, which is notably the second-largest Latin American economy (behind Brazil).
In Argentina, Ualá claims aorund 2.5 million cardholders. Following the Coroanvirus outbreak, Argentina residents have (like consumers in other areas) increasingly been using all-digital platforms and serivces to take care of everyday requirements like utility bills.
Ualá’s digital or online bill payment service, which is supported by Western Union as a key partner, has experienced a dramatic increase in transactions (since the start of COVID-19 pandemic).
Ualá also works cooperatively with PagoFacil and RapiPago, which are extra-bank channels in Argentina focused on handling public and private utility bills (along with tax collection). The Fintech’s firms prepaid card may be topped up via RapiPago and PagoFácil or through a local bank or digital account.
It’s worth noting that Ualá may be able to expand its operations considerably in Argentina, since only 48% of locals had a bank acccount, according to the World Bank Global Findex study conducted back in 2017.
Ualá’s competitors include Brazilian Fintech Unicorn Nubank, Brubank, and online wallet provider MercadoLibre.