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Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Electronic payments in Mexico. Are we there yet? Not really, says recent survey

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Let’s give the Mexican government some credit. It had good intentions when it launched its electronic payment solution, Cobros Digitales (CoDi) last September. Now, all intentions aside and nearly two months into its release, there’s still a long way to go in terms of penetration and acceptance.

According to a recent survey, over 76.6 percent of Mexican MSMEs don’t even know what CoDi is. What’s worse, of the 23.3 percent that did know, 40.6 percent said they had no intention of using the solution.

Mexican monetary authorities hope to reach 18.1 million users by September of next year. As of mid-November, over one million users have opened a CoDi account. Which theoretically is speaking, is a good thing.

What would be more helpful would be to know where these new users lived. It’s one thing to download an app and be “financially included” when residing in an urban setting; it’s quite another to live in rural Mexico with limited access to banking services and information.

CoDi-e Another Day

The fact of the matter is that cash is still king in Mexico. Not to flog a dead horse, but we’ve mentioned this before: 95 percent of all transactions are still done using money you have to touch with your hands. Which is why the government is so intent on fostering financial inclusion. It also hoped to curb corruption by curtailing cash through CoDi.

This government created this solution to allow people to make fast and safe payments or receive money using an app, QR codes, and near field communication (NFR) technology. Unlike electronic solutions offered by some startups, CoDi charges no commission for its services. Nice as it sounds, the new system has some deep-rooted hurdles to handle.

Authorities may trumpet that CoDi is backed by the country’s Central Bank, but that isn’t holding much sway with users.

Mistrust may exist towards this solution due to various causes. This includes fears that it’s connected to the Mexican fiscal authorities. No one wants the tax authorities a-knocking for buying a pack of gum at the corner shop. Moreover, the fact that one of the primary payment networks on the solution, SPEI, fell on CoDi’s launch day doesn’t speak well of the service in terms of quality.

Perhaps authorities should’ve factored in that people in Mexico tend to trust entrepreneurs and even banks more than they do the government, according to an unrelated survey

So go for it fintechs! People trust you.

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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