There’s more to fintech innovation in Mexico than remittances. But this week’s fintech headlines from America’s nearest neighbor to the south have reminded of the major role that money transfer services play in the financial services landscape of nations like Mexico.
Late this week, Western Union announced that it was teaming up with Pagaphone SmartPay to offer its customers additional options when it comes to sending and receiving money from the U.S. to Mexico. Courtesy of the new arrangement, U.S. customers will be able to send money via a variety of Western Union channels, from WU.com to the company’s mobile app to any one of Western Union retail locations in Mexico. Recipients receive the funds on their phones by accessing their PagaPhone SmartPay accounts. Funds can then be transferred to bank accounts, withdrawn as cash from an ATM using their PagaPhone debit cards, or used to pay for products and services directly from the app.
“By teaming with Western Union, PagaPhone SmartPay users in Mexico have yet another way to receive money from friends and family cross-border, using a brand known and trusted for decades,” PagaPhone Smart Pay and Cloud Transfer Services CEO and founder Ulises Tellez said.
More than $51 billion was sent to Mexico in remittances last year, Head of Western Union Mexico and Central America Pablo Porro said, underscoring the major role of cross-border payments in the region. “With this surge in remittances, customers demand choice and added convenience for how and when money is sent and received,” Porro added.
Headquartered in Mexico City and founded in 2018, PagaPhone offers an e-Wallet that enables users to cash remittances directly from their smartphone – as well as conduct a number of other transactions ranging from payments to cash withdrawals.
Also this week, we learned that Mexican fintech Broxel has announced the availability of free remittances for Mexicans living in the U.S. As part of its commemoration of Cinco de Mayo on Thursday, Broxel will make it both easier and more affordable for more members of the Mexican-American community to send money to relatives in Mexico for free.
“Millions of families in Mexico depend on the hard work of people trying to achieve their dreams, sending money every week as an act of love, memory, and gratitude,” Brozel Client Services Supervisor Mario Lopez said. “So having a financial product that allows the Mexican community to send money for free, is proof that technology can change people’s lives.”
Available from the company’s website, the Broxell Pay App offers free remittances among a number of other features. These include a Mastercard debit card, the ability to have both a peso-denominated account issued in Mexico and a dollar-denominated account issued in the U.S. on the same app, and a travel discount service.
“Technology is erasing borders,” Broxel founder and President Gustavo Gutiérrez said. “The idea of having free remittances is an economical disruption for the North American region, and a game-changer for millions of potential users.”
What’s going in Mexican fintech other than cross-border payments? Why crypto, of course!
YoCripto, a Mexico-based bitcoin rewards credit card, is gearing up for a launch later this year. As reported in Fintech Futures this week, the company calls itself the first Latin American fintech to offer a credit card with bitcoin rewards. YoCripto plans to offer both a virtual and a physical Visa-powered credit card, with Bitcoin rewards of as much as 3% on all transactions. The card will also feature a low interest rate, no annual fees or commissions, and instant credit approvals.
Designed to serve the young and underbanked Latin Americans, Yo Cripto was founded by Julian Arber and Rafael Maya in January of this year. Both Arber and Maya have significant backgrounds in financial services; Arber at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, Maya at American Express. The company raised $4 million in seed funding in February in a round led by DILA Capital and, after launch, plans to expand to Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Argentina.
“Our main goal is to promote financial inclusion across Latin America,” the founders said in an interview with LABS (Latin American Business Stories), “allowing users to obtain the benefits of the crypto ecosystem without its complexity.”
ICYMI … Check out our coverage of the $15 million in funding raised by Indian fintech Kaleidofin this week.
India-based financial services provider Kaleidofin announced it has raised an additional $5 million in funding, adding to the $10 million investment the company received in January of this year. The $15 million round brings Kaleidofin’s total funding to just shy of $23 million.
Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.
Middle East and Northern Africa
Central and Southern Asia
Latin America and the Caribbean
Central and Eastern Europe
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel