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Inside Latin America’s Mobile Payment Explosion

January 17, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

A recent look at the mobile payments market suggests that the technology driving such efforts is on a particular tear in an unlikely location: Latin America. Companies like YellowPepper are stepping in to provide new advances in the market and the reasons behind this huge new insurgence have combined to make what amounts to a “perfect storm” of new opportunity in Latin America.

The biggest two factors are a large-scale demand in the overall market for mobile payments, and a hefty early-adopter population thanks to millennials in the region. YellowPepper has been in the Latin America market for some time now, even back to the early days of mobile banking in the region. YellowPepper has been continuing to work the mobile banking side of the market—which as we’ve seen previously is a big part of the field even in the United States. Seeing not only a clear demand for mobile payments, but also a lot of concurrent development possibilities between mobile banking and payments, YellowPepper pushed into a comparatively quiet market with some new options.

This in turn has driven substantial growth for YellowPepper, which has brought its technology to Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia. Throw in some new investment in YellowPepper from emerging markets specialist Volta Global and a major new push was in the works. Some within YellowPepper refer to Latin America as a “frontier market” for mobile payments, or a market that’s just ahead of classification as an emerging market.

YellowPepper has clearly spotted a market about to happen, and is working the field accordingly. With a large stock of tech-savvy millennials on hand, this makes mobile payments—and by extension mobile banking—a fairly hot commodity down in the region. With 63 percent of 18-35 year olds turning to YellowPepper for mobile, and 65 percent of users being repeat users, it’s a good sign of future market penetration. Of course, it’s still early, so YellowPepper isn’t an entrenched firm yet.

There’s a great opportunity ahead for a mobile payments firm to step in and provide new value to break users away from YellowPepper. With so many alternatives already seen in the mobile payments sector, dispatching a few towards Latin America to seize a chunk of a market about to emerge is likely to happen in the near-term.