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More than half of Latin Americans have paid with crypto

  • As digital payments are embraced, consumers want more flexibility in using crypto and traditional payments interchangeably
  • Latin Americans are ready to use new payment methods such as biometrics, digital currencies and QR codes

Latin American consumers are looking for more crypto and digital payment services, according to a new survey by Mastercard.

According to the Emerging Payment Methods Survey released this week, around 51% of survey respondents in the region have already made a transaction using crypto, and over a third say they have made a payment for an everyday purchase using a stablecoin.

Latino consumers are also embracing new payment technologies — the survey found that about 86% have used at least one new payment method in the past year.

While 77% of Americans and 74% of Europeans prefer traditional payment methods to newer ones, Latin Americans are willing to use new methods like biometrics, digital currencies and QR codes – in addition to contactless payments.

“Latin Americans are increasingly turning to technology to conduct their financial transactions and this trend is expected to continue, with an overwhelming 95% planning to use a digital payment method in the coming year and 29% admitting they have used less cash in the past year,” said Walter Pimenta, executive vice president of products and technology at Mastercard Latin America and the Caribbean, in a statement.

The results are based on a survey conducted between March and April 2022 among more than 35,000 people around the world.

According to Mastercard, more than half of Latin American consumers are optimistic about the performance of digital assets as an investment. Two-thirds want greater flexibility to use crypto and traditional payment methods interchangeably in their day-to-day operations, a growing trend for both consumers and businesses.

“We’re definitely seeing consumer interest, but even more merchant interest in accepting crypto to make crypto — not necessarily converting it back to fiat,” said Elion Chin, co-founder of electronic peer-to-peer Cash Systems Nimiq, opposite Blockworks.

Meanwhile, Mastercard noted that financial institutions’ endorsement of crypto could also bolster consumer confidence in the space: About 69% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean would feel more secure investing — and 67% would feel comfortable investing when they make or receive payments in crypto — if “they are issued or endorsed by a trusted organization.”

Another 82% of respondents say they would like crypto-related features available directly from their current financial institution.

El Salvador became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender last year. In other countries like Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, more real estate companies are allowing homebuyers to buy or rent homes in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

In April, Colombian delivery app Rappi, with operations in nine Latin American countries, partnered with Bitpay and Bitso to launch a crypto payments pilot program in Mexico as a first attempt at crypto payment adoption.


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  • Jocelyn Yang

    blocks

    reporter

    Jocelyn is a New York-based reporter. Before joining Blockworks, she covered wealth management for the Financial Times B2B publication Financial Advisor IQ and wrote about the crypto markets for Forkast.News. Jocelyn holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Emerson College. Born and raised in Beijing, China, her native language is Mandarin. You can reach Jocelyn at [email protected]

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