Like many developing areas, Latin America holds promise for payments companies and the burgeoning movement to digital transactions in lieu of coins and paper bills.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Alexander Sjogren, YellowPepper’s CTO, stated that his firm has evolved beyond its initial underpinnings in the mobile banking services segment focusing on underbanked and underserved populations.
More recently, YellowPepper has been forging partnerships with banks to foster banking and payments across Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador. The roster of merchants, said the CTO, is sizable, numbering more than 100,000 “including, for example, McDonald’s and Starbucks.” Upcoming launches this year, Sjogren told PYMNTS, will center on Argentina and Brazil.
The region is one rife for the adoption of mobile payments and also eCommerce. Overall, mobile phone penetration crossed the 100 percent level some time ago (with significant numbers of people owning more than one phone) and smartphones as a percentage of that ownership touches increasing numbers of those users, or much more than half, depending on the country.
In 2014 the company launched its mobile wallet, Yepex, in the region. The firm has estimated that the platform processes more than 30 million transactions monthly across 6 million users. In its latest country launch, the firm said it had branched out into Ecuador at the tail end of 2015, with a partnership struck with Diner’s Club of Ecuador, bringing its own payments features into the PayClub wallet. At the same time, old client relationships have stayed strong and long lived.
In a separate interview conducted by PYMNTS with YellowPepper CEO and co-founder Serge Elkiner, the executive noted that upon launching in the region, YellowPepper had relationships with 50 firms; those relationships continue through to today, bringing dual relationships to consumers through both banks and merchants. The overarching experience, as described by Elkiner, has been one to transition stakeholders in the transaction away from the use of cash.
And as for use of technology as an interface between consumer and merchant, YellowPepper brought to market years ago its mobile platform that has allowed smartphone users to conduct transactions at the point of sale, with no additional hardware needed at the merchant level.