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Argentina Country Report

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  • Published Date: April 2020

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Argentina.

Argentina more than trebled its penetration of smartphones in the six years to the end of the last decade, setting the scene for a steep rise in payments by QR code, already growing in popularity in recent years. Encouraged by new (albeit late-coming) regulation, the banking correspondents network is also primed for development. The number of point-of-sale terminals in Argentina more than doubled between 2016 and 2019, while the acquiring sector was deregulated in 2018, opening the way for new players and competitive efficiencies.

What you will learn from this Argentina cards market report:

  • How regulatory iterations have reshaped the Argentina cards market
  • Why Argentinian retailers remain particularly influential
  • How issuers in Argentina have maintained their margins
  • What is the most significant source of income
  • How the profitability mix has evolved in a tough environment

ARGENTINA CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORT | KEY FACTS

  • Between 2013 and 2019, all major economic indicators deteriorated, leaving Argentina acutely vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.
  • The government adopted several market-friendly measures in the latter half of the last decade, although economic growth was impaired by high inflation, unemployment and drought.
  • Although usage is falling, cash represented 54 per cent of total payments value in 2019 and remains the preferred form of payment.
  • Issuing has substantially increased, going from 193 payment cards per 100 adults in 2013 up to 261 in 2019.
  • Argentina credit card data shows ownership will reach an average of 123 cards per 100 adults in 2020, with 32 per cent of total payment cards billed volume.
  • Debit cards maintained their dominance in 2019, with an average of 145 cards per 100 adults and 68 per cent of total billed volume.
  • With a combined market share of 36 per cent, Banco Galicia and Santander are the leading institutions for Argentina credit cards in issue.
  • Visa dominates the Argentinian credit and debit cards network market in terms of billed volume and cards in issue.
  • From $10 pre-tax profit per credit card in 2018, this metric bounced up to $21 in 2019, mainly accounted for by a fluctuating exchange rate. VFR estimates $24 profit per card for 2020.

Argentina Payments Research | Report Contents

Key Topics
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Argentina cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other Argentina cards market information

Appendices: Card Payments Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e-commerce payment methods

Appendix III: Cards market data

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Contactless cards metrics
  • Argentina credit card data
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics
  • Prepaid/e-money cards metrics

Appendix IV: Mobile payments data

  • Mobile P2P payments

Appendix V: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix VI: Card networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network (signature debit cards: exempt)
  • Debit card interchange fees by network (signature and PIN debit cards: regulated)

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VIII: Acquirers and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions

Appendix IX: Online acquiring data

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

Argentina Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy:
As of 2019, 92% of the population lives in urban centres, while life expectancy at birth is 77.8 years. The country has a literacy rate of 99%, the highest among large and medium-sized economies in Latin America..

Payments Environment:
Between 2013 and 2019, the total value of payments in Argentina increased by 5.6 times, mirroring the country's currency devaluation trend. During the same period, the exchange rate versus the dollar increased by 9.21 times and the nominal GDP grew by 6.5 times.

Cards market:
The Argentinean cards market enjoyed double-digit annual growth in purchase volumes between 2013 and 2019. However, with inflation accounting for a large proportion of growth in spend, the average annual growth in purchase transactions was 7% in the same period.

Mobile Payments:
Mobile payments have been under development in Argentina since 2009; however, it has gained wide acceptance over the past two years through the use of digital wallets.

Profit Pool:
Despite an adverse economic environment, credit card profitability grew almost continuously between 2013 and 2019 (with 2018 being the exception). VFR estimates a per-card profit of $21 for 2019.

Card Networks:
There is a three-tier cards network system in Argentina. Visa and Mastercard have a combined 76% and 71% market share in terms of cards in issue and billed volume as of December 2019. Visa, however, is the market leader and is well ahead.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers:
Credit card issuing has become more concentrated in recent years with the top six banks controlling 67.3% of credit cards in issue at the end of 2019, up from 59.6% at the end of 2015.

Acquiring and Processing:
As of December 2019, Argentina has over one million point-of-sale terminals, having rapidly expanded its payment card acceptance network over the past three years.

Online Acquiring:
Online acquiring is dominated by Prisma and Fiserv, owing to their long-standing arrangements with Visa and Mastercard. The deregulation of the acquiring market could lead to more intense competition.

Regulatory and Markets Information:
The financial system in Argentina is regulated by the country's central bank, Banco Central de la Republica de Argentina, through the Financial Institutions Act. In addition, the BCRA regulates payment cards activities through Law 25065 and the payment system through Law 26739.

Argentina Payments Report | Entities Referenced

AAdvantage
Agrocabal
Ahora 12
American Airlines
American Express
Amex
ATACYC
Banco Central de la República Argentina
Banco Ciudad de Buenos Aires
Banco Comafi
Banco Credicoop
Banco de Córdoba
Banco de la Nación Argentina
Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires
Banco de Santa Fe
Banco Francés del Río de la Plata
Banco Galicia
Banco La Pampa
Banco Patagonia
Banco Provincia de Buenos Aires
Banco San Juan
Banelco
BBVA
BCRA
Brubank
Buenos Aires Underground
Cabal
CACE
Carrefour
Cencosud
Chamber of Credit and Purchase Cards
Citibank
CMR
CNDC
COELSA
Compensadora Electronica
Comprando
Coto
Covid-19
Credicoop
CVU
Debin
Descuento City
Diners Club
Discount World
Discover
Equifax Veraz
Falabella
Fidelitas
First Data
Fiserv
Galicia
Galicia Administradora de Fondos
Getnet
GFG
Grupo Financiero Galicia
Hipotecario
HSBC
ICBC
IMF
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
International Monetary Fund
Italcred
LaPos Celular
Link
Macro
Maestro
Mastercard
MercadoLibre
MercadoPago
Monedero
Movistar
Mundo Descuento
Naranja X
Nosis
Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe
Openbank
Pago Mis Cuentas
Patagonia
PayPal
PosNet
PRISMA
Prisma
Provincia de Cordoba
Rapipago
Rebanking
Red Link
Salto 96
Santander
Santander Rio
Sistema Unico de Boleto Electrónico
Standard Bank Argentina
SUBE
Sudamericana Holding
Supervielle
Tarjeta Naranja
Tarjetas Regionales
Tiendeo
Todo Pago
Ualá
uenta Gratuita Universal
UIF
Uniform Virtual Key
Universal Free Account
VALEpei
Visa
Visa Argentina
VisaNet
Wenance
Wilobank
Yacaré

MORE LATIN AMERICA CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORTS

Verisk reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit throughout Latin America. Analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and Latin American experts.

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