Visa today called on emerging Latin American financial companies to participate with their proposals to transform electronic payment systems into a $ 50,000 prize pool.
The Salvadoran Rubén Salazar, senior vice president of Products, Solutions and Innovation for Latin America and the Caribbean of Visa, told Efe that it is estimated that in Latin America there are only about a thousand “fintechs”, as the “startups” of Financial services, where their potential is much greater.
“Fintech has not had the momentum in Latin America that we have seen in other regions,” said Salazar, who points out that global investments in “fintech” total more than 23,000 million dollars, but only 600 million have gone to the region .
Brazil and Mexico are the countries of the region with a greater development of fintechs, followed by Colombia, Argentina and Chile.
Visa expects that the “Everywhere Initiative”, as it is called the competition previously organized in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, will serve as a stimulus to create emerging companies in the financial sector in the Latin American region.
Out of a thousand Latin American fintechs, 40% or 50% are dedicated to payments specifically, says Salazar, who hopes that the call will resonate and competition will be tight.
The deadline to submit nominations is already open and by mid-July will be selected 50 semifinalists, divided into five groups of ten companies each.
The finalists will depart from presentations to be held on August 24 in Mexico City, August 31 in Buenos Aires, September 7 in Santiago, Chile, September 26 in Bogotá and September 28 in Sao Paulo.
In November the 10 finalists will be in Miami to participate in a four-day program at the Visa Innovation Center to receive support and training, and on the 9th of that month the final will be held during the FINNOSUMMIT call, a meeting of the sector Finance in Miami.
A jury will choose and announce the same day the winner of the $ 50,000, Salazar explained.
But the “Everywhere Initiative” program consists not only of the cash prize, but also of connecting “fintechs” with banks and businesses looking to develop new payment solutions.
In response to a question from Efe, Salazar said that Visa does not invest or take an equity stake in emerging technology companies, but its objective is to be a “catalyst” for investments by the institutions with which Visa works.
Many of these banks, shops, hotels or other companies looking for solutions to make their customers’ payment experience better are addressed to Visa, which has its regional headquarters in Miami with a center specialized in handling such cases and seeking solutions “to measure”.
The Center for Innovation, which celebrates one year these days, has already served more than 50 banks and companies, says a “very, very satisfied” Salazar.
Usually the specialists of the center can identify the problem, give a diagnosis and look for a solution, which may be among the many that has Visa, but can also be sought in the market in 24 hours, although there are sessions of up to 72 hours.
Salazar finally points out that the biggest competitor of Visa and other electronic payment companies is the cash. The 80% of the transactions that are made in the world, however, remain, with constant and sound money.
Anything that contributes to moving towards an all-digital economy has economic benefits for the individual, financial institutions and governments, which saves on security and logistics costs, says the executive.
Visanet, Visa’s main product, has more than 16,000 financial institutions and 44 million affiliated establishments and through that network, 151 billion transactions are carried out per year.