July 22, 2022
This week, Itaú shut its digital wallet in Argentina, ank, and Chinese lender ICBC launched one of its own, YOY. We explain this alphabet soup and how the decisions leave the local market. In addition, Mexico’s Klar buys an artificial intelligence company and BCI starts operations in Peru. All this, plus the latest regulatory changes in the region, in our weekly roundup.
BTW – did you know that most of the iupana team is based in Peru? Well, that’s why next Friday we will be raising the
Wallets in Argentina: Bye-bye ank and hello YOY
International banks are adopting diverging positions when it comes to developing digital wallets in Argentina. While Itaú Unibanco has decided to close its wallet, ank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has introduced its own proposal, YOY, targeted at Generation Z.
The decisions raise the question of how much room exists in the digital wallet market in Argentina, a country that’s home to heavyweights such as Ualá and Mercado Pago.
"We need more and better fintechs,
"We are only at 1% of what needs to be done [in Argentina], and we will see solutions looking to create the financial system of the future will continue to appear," he says.
Itaú said in June it had suspended investments in ank and has now confirmed the platform will be shut down on July 29. It said the decision is a consequence of the global economic context.
Despite the difficult climate, ICBC debuted its new wallet, YOY, with the aim of attracting young users with fashion, fitness and gaming features as well as the option of a savings account and virtual debit card.
According to Buitrago, while it’s a crowded field—there are more than 35 digital wallets operating in Argentina—the sector’s potential is clear. Half of the
"Undoubtedly, there is still a lot of room for new solutions that create value for the community. While the departure of ank is sad news, the entry of new solutions that improve the financial life of Argentines is a moment of great joy and something to celebrate," says the executive.
Peru and Colombia are changing the rules for lending… albeit in very different ways. New regulation in Peru could limit interest rates on loans and is being questioned by industry specialists. Meanwhile, plans in Colombia to modernize solidarity credit point to more competition and potential
Among other news from iupanaPRO, Ecuador has a new superintendent of banks—and we analyze the implications of Chile’s proposed constitutional rewrite for fintechs.
#Strategic Plays 📊
In Brazil, Quanto lays off 22% of its employees. The Open Finance fintech went from 128 to 100 employees. HRTech Flash buys ExpenseOn. The operation allows Flash to enter the market for solutions to manage corporate expenses. And Zro Bank readies a
Mexico’s Stori joins the list of unicorns
After raising US$50 million in equity and US$100 million in debt financing, credit card placement fintech Stori achieved a valuation of US$1.2 billion. The equity round was led by BAI Capital, GIC and GGV Capital.
Brazil’s Educbank closes US$36m round
Educbank, a school lending fintech, raised R$200 million (US$36 million) in a series A investment round. The fintech provides payment guaranty to school tuition fees and offers software for school service management. The investment was led by Vasta, one of the country’s largest education companies.
Arrenda raises US$ 26.5 m
Mexican fintech Arrenda raised US$26.5 million in equity and debt in a pre-seed investment round led by Fasanara Capital. The fintech offers financing to property owners in LatAm through factoring and advances rent payments for up to one year.
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The region’s paytechs are adding value to their payment solutions in a bid to become allies of Latin American SMEs. This week Peru’s Izipay and Chile’s Klap discussed their strategies for smart POS.
Read all about it in this week’s lead story.
Over and out
That’s it – you’re up to date! Thanks for reading and see you on August 5th!