The results are out. For the second year running we asked our community of readers for their views on the most relevant issues in digital finance, and the majority said that regulation, open finance and payments will continue to top the list of priorities for 2023.
The Outlook for Digital Banking, Fintech and Payments in Latin America 2023 is a survey of the technologies and trends that our readers — company founders, directors, executives, and analysts active in digital finance in LatAm — think will set the tone for the year.
In 2022, the uncertainty at the start of what could have been a third year of pandemic and confinements weighed on last year’s responses. This year, many of those surveyed agreed that, after a period of disquiet, they are now hoping for stability and growth; both in product development and revenue. “Expansion” and “greater knowledge” were terms that cropped up several times in the responses.
However, the topic that our readers predict will have the biggest impact on their businesses is regulatory changes — 61.7% of those surveyed said so — at a time when regulators and legislators throughout the region continue to work on a variety of bills and legal frameworks.
Mexico’s pending open banking regulation and the entry into force of fintech laws in Chile and Ecuador, cryptocurrencies in Brazil, and interoperable payment systems in Colombia and Peru will be just some of the developments set to trigger substantial change in the sector this year, according to a series of 2023 Regulatory Forecasts from iupanaPRO, our specialized digital financial regulation service.
After regulatory changes, the entry of big techs such as Meta and Apple into LatAm is the factor seen having the greatest repercussions, according to 37.8% of those questioned. Although we have seen advances by the big technology companies elsewhere, especially in the United States, their incursion into this region is still timid.
It remains to be seen if new initiatives such as the initiation of payments in Brazil via WhatsApp gain momentum. And whether the BNPL or tap-to-pay initiatives launched by Apple in the United States permeate through the rest of the continent. And more importantly, how local participants will take advantage of them.
Here are some other highlights from the 2023 survey:
- 40% of respondents said the technology that will have the biggest impact on their business this year is APIs, reflecting the progress we’ve seen in the last year in building open and embedded finance ecosystems
- The other technologies that will capture the market’s attention — as well as resources, probably — are artificial intelligence (25.5%), digital identity and biometrics (17%), and blockchain (10.6%). In 2022, twice as many respondents (21%) said blockchain would be among the most relevant technologies.
- Another theme expected to make waves, according to 6% of respondents, is mergers and acquisitions, a trend that we saw reach a peak in 2021.
- The challenges of recruiting specialized talent will continue to be a pressing issue, according to 34% of those surveyed, even as last year saw waves of layoffs in the sector and a decline in investment, which is a key source of capital for hiring.
- And as for investments, the bulk of respondents (33%) believe that most of the money raised this year will go to the payment segment, followed by open banking (22.9%). Last year, neobanks were in first place.
- Just 6.2% said they expect the crypto sector to dominate capital injections this year, well down on last year’s 20%.