Fintech accounts for over 20% of total venture funding in Mexico, with 200+ startups receiving over 600 million in equity financing from investors like Emerging Finance, QED, and Santander Innoventures. Today, over 500 fintech companies are operating in Mexico. Finovista, a fintech and insurtech accelerator, has doubled down on Mexico City, hosting bootcamps like FinTech Mexico City and Scale Fintech.
As of 2021, Mexico was still lagging behind other markets in the region in terms of people being banked.
88% in Brazil
82% in Chile
60% in Argentina
60% in Colombia
54% in Peru
45% in Mexico
Fintech companies are seeing a major opportunity.
80+ million Mexicans use smartphones
80+ million Mexicans have access to internet
9.1 million Mexicans are digital natives (Mexico ranks 6th in the world for the number of digital natives).
Electronic bill payments and money transfer volume has increased 80% since the pandemic
New account sign-ups for digital wallets and neobanks are up 30% since 2020
Mexico is one of the biggest consumer markets in the world, with a powerful informal economy. This paradox means that the country is desperately lacking in certain financial infrastructure.
Fintech, short for financial technology, is technology that provides a wide range of financial services–from personal financial management and mobile banking to cryptocurrencies and QR payments–in an efficient, scalable, and user-friendly way.
In 2018, Mexico became one of the first countries around the world to pass legislation related to Fintech. The law, known as “Ley Fintech Mexico,” allows the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público (SHCP), Mexican Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), and the Central Bank to set parameters for sub-sectors like crypto and collective financing, as well as establish standard “sandboxes” for fintech products. The goal of the law is to keep users and investors’ financials healthy.
While regulations can help build trust, they also can slow down progress and hamper innovation. Mexican fintech companies need to budget for legal and consulting fees so that they can maintain compliance with all of the country’s mandatory regulations.
The startup ecosystem in Mexico is the second largest in Latin America, trailing behind Brazil.
Personal finance management (financial management, financial education, financial wellness, robo advisors, financial planning)
Mobile banking and electronic payment funds (wallet)
Digital lending & credit
Digital money transfers
Peer-to-peer payment services (Venmo, Cash App)
Automated portfolio managers
Financial markets and trading platforms (Robinhood)
Crowdfunding or collective financing
Cryptocurrencies, blockchains, and virtual assets
Financial services infrastructure and enterprise technology (big data & analytics, business intelligence)
Cyber security (fraud prevention and identity verification)
Digital credit (credit products on electronic platforms)
Fraud prevention, identity verification, risk assessment, and scoring
Buy now, pay later (BNLP)
Payments and remittances
Many Mexican citizens have developed a deep distrust of the country’s banking system. Some Mexicans, especially, those in rural areas, are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they keep most of their wealth in cash.
Many people are asking, Is cash still king in Mexico?
When the Covid-19 pandemic forced Mexicans to remain at home, a seismic shift occurred in the country. Thanks to the uptick in smartphone and internet usage, more transactions started occurring online. This prompted more Mexicans to sign up for debit/credit cards and lead the country’s change from being a cash-based society to embracing a digital economy.
Many fintechs are now aiming to bank people without accounts. However, most fintech products still required users to visit a brick-and-mortar bank store.
The shifting economy means more businesses need crowdfunding, private debt placements, and mezzanine debt. Also, more customers are embracing traditional banks and financial institutions.
Mexico fintech companies have started expanding to the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and beyond. Mexico fintechs have a strong presence in Colombia and Chile, followed by Peru, Brazil, Honduras, Panama, and Costa Rica.
Outside of Latin America, the United States and Canada are the biggest markets for Mexican fintech startups, though they’re building out a strong presence across Europe and Asia as well.
When it comes to international relations, the US is one of Mexico’s biggest allies. It’s not surprising, then, that financial companies ranging from Western Union to Bitso are developing new solutions to send money across borders without unnecessary fees.
One example includes PagaPhone SmartPay, which allows Mexicans to send and receive money directly from the US with their smart phone’s digital wallet.
Given that so many people across the world speak Spanish, it also makes sense that Spain-based companies are looking to Latin America, especially Mexico. BDeo, a Spanish startup that specializes in claims process, is partnering with Mexican insurance companies.
Most fintech companies in Mexico are relatively young and small. On average, Mexico fintechs have the following characteristics:
< 3 years old
Fewer than 10 employees
Average annual revenue of around $100,000 USD
Average equity of around $200,000 USD
Mexican startups are still depending on foreign tech to deliver products and services, especially with blockchain.
Like in the US, Mexican fintech startups still rely on traditional banking infrastructure. However, they are investing in B2B tools and infrastructure, including big data and analytics, APIs, open platforms, and tools for developing mobile applications.
No-fee digital banking. Startups like Klar, Kueski Pay, Stori, and Albo are working to find sustainable revenue models that allow them to offer banking services in Mexico without fees.
Full-scale banking. Fintechs like Nubank, Uala, and Revolut are seeking to replace legacy players entirely by offering the full menu of banking services.
Familiar brands moving into fintech. Like Target and Walmart, Oxxo, a convenience store company based in Monterrey, is entering the fintech scene by launching a banking app.
Government fintech. BANXICO is creating the country’s first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBCD). The government has started distributing benefits via digital wallets and bank deposits. They have also launched a QR code system called: Cobro Digital (CoDI).
Regulatory matters. Santander Mexico, the Embassy of the UK in Mexico, Finnovista, and Google conducted a study revealing that Mexican fintech startups will need to cut through a significant amount of red tape to succeed.
Underbanked population. A significant portion of the population remains underbanked.
Bias towards the metropolitan elite. Mexican fintech users are largely composed of middle- and upper-class people in places like Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. This means that the poor rural communities that desperately need new financial products still lack access.
Fintech companies want to hire talent around the world, but aren’t sure how.
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