Digital Economy, Financial Inclusion Take the SpotlightBy Sofía Hanna | Thu, 03/25/2021 - 17:19
In Mexico, over 50 percent of the population remains unbanked and cash still accounts for 90 percent of consumer payments. Sonect, a Swiss fintech, hit the Mexican market this week and its strategy to foster branchless transformation is incomplete without addressing what he calls the elephant in the room: cash. Sonect aims to create the largest ATM network in Mexico. According to the company, by providing easy access to financial services from anywhere, banks can reach more customers, while businesses that handle cash can increase profits.
Back in October 2020, Sonect announced a partnership with gig economy-focused fintech Lana. "We are super excited to kick off our Mexican journey with Lana. They are the ideal partner to support our expansion and help us bring our service to a bigger audience. At Sonect, we focused all our forces on expanding internationally in 2020. Signing a partnership agreement with Lana is a significant milestone for us and it shows that we are reaching our ambitious strategic goal for this year," said Sandipan Chakraborty, Founder and CEO of the Zurich-based company.
Interested in more? Here are the week's major headlines in Finance!
- René Arce, Partner at Hogan Lovells, and Dinorah Pensado, Associate at Hogan Lovells, informed MBN about financial inclusion and how this is an opportunity for women and fintech. Arce and Pensado highlight men with access to at least one credit product (33 percent) is higher than women (29 percent). Also, 28 percent of men have at least one insurance product compared to only 23 percent of women. The gender gap is even larger for retirement funds or Afores, where women are significantly less likely than men to have a retirement account (49 percent of men compared to 31 percent of women). They also mention how technology can be used to tackle financial gaps. For example, electronic distribution channels and digital client onboarding processes can help reach neglected groups by making services more efficient and lowering market entry barriers for new competitors.
- Bitso was one of the first companies to try to get consumers to understand and use cryptocurrencies in Mexico. The perception of online shopping and currencies shifted during the pandemic and this came to change how people understand cryptocurrencies. Bitso explains that the COVID-19 pandemic led many to turn toward cryptocurrencies. Daniel Vogel, General Director of Bitso, told Forbes Mexico that the company saw significant growth during the past several months as people reevaluated their perception of Bitcoin. He credits the company's growth to two things. "First, many people thought that the dollar would depreciate and they saw cryptocurrencies as an alternative. Second, people started to see Bitcoin as a way to store value."
- Victor Hugo Flores, Country Manager of Fintual and a Startup Contributor of MBN, highlighted great opportunities for wealth-techs. “You should not bet your pension fund in a blackjack game. That sounds exuberant, but that is exactly what you do when you invest your core investment portfolio in strategies as random as GME shares or in Yolo trades,” he said. Flores also mentions how people can build real wealth by using technology to reduce costs, disrupting the traditional financial landscape and through financial education.