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Uruguay Country Report

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  • Published Date: November 2020

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Uruguay, with clearsighted commentary backed by relevant data.

As part of the liberalisation wave sweeping the region, acquiring exclusivity is due to come to an end in Uruguay shortly. Regulators have recently introduced caps on debit and credit card MSCs. Even before the pandemic, debit cards had exceeded one card per adult in 2018, while contactless cards, introduced in that year, will reach an 18% penetration of payment cards in 2020.

What you will learn from this Uruguay cards market report:

  • How the payments environment been transformed
  • The role of strategic alliances and new regulations
  • What has driven credit card profitability
  • The evolution of electronic payments
  • Key issuer category distinctions

URUGUAY CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORT | KEY FACTS

  • Cash, though losing ground to electronic methods, remains the preferred form of payment. Verisk Financial Research estimates that electronic payments will reach almost half of total households' consumer payments over the next two years.
  • The Financial Inclusion Law of 2014 has dramatically improved the payments landscape.
  • Since that year, electronic payments (including card payments, bank transfers, direct debit and electronic money) have more than doubled their share of total consumer payments to reach 40% of value in 2020.
  • Over that span, issuing has risen from an average of 178 to 230 cards per hundred adults.
  • Credit card ownership will reach an average of 128 cards per 100 adults in 2020 with just over a quarter of total payment cards billed volume, leaving the lion's share to debit cards.
  • The average number of debit card transactions, per month, per cardholder, almost trebled from 2014 to 2020.
  • Visa and Mastercard are the leading credit card networks, with the former well ahead.
  • The debit card side is split between Mastercard and Visa, with the former holding a clear lead.
  • For credit cards, three key issuers dominate, Banco Itaú-OCA, Scotiabank-Pronto! and Santander-Creditel.
  • Positive economic growth since 2014 ended with the pandemic, which is driving the economy into recession.

Uruguay Payments Research | Report Contents

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

Uruguay Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy:
Uruguay's economy enjoyed positive, if erratic, growth between 2014 and 2019. The variation was the result of global and regional economic trends, especially in the case of its main trading partners, Brazil and Argentina.

Payments Environment:
Uruguay's payment market has evolved positively between 2014 and 2019, especially in terms of reducing the unbanked population, increasing usage of electronic channels and expanding access points coverage.

Cards market:
VFR estimates that as of June 2020, 42% of the adult population possesses a credit card. With 3.62 million credit cards in issue, each cardholder holds three credit cards on average ... Between 2014 and 2020, debit card POS purchase volume increased15 times.

Mobile Payments:
Uruguay's high mobile phone density has opened the opportunity for the development of electronic money services ... VFR estimates that mobile payments and P2P transfers will reach $544 million in 2020, with an average transaction value of $91.

Profit Pool:
With profit per card estimated at $46 at the end of 2020, Uruguay's credit cards market is an attractive one. Profit per card grew by almost 1.9 times between 2014 and 2020 due to higher APRs and credit card fees.

Card Networks:
Uruguay's credit cards market is led by Visa and Mastercard. Other players include OCA, American Express, regional card largest debit card issuer in Uruguay, BROU, Mastercard dominates the network-branded debit cards market

Key Retail Banks and Issuers:
The top four issuers – Itau (including OCA), Scotiabank (including Pronto!), Santander (including Creditel) and BBVA – accounted for approximately 85% of the country's credit cards in issue in 2020 ... the result of numerous mergers and acquisitions.

Acquiring and Processing:
While acquiring exclusivity currently prevails in Uruguay, with VisaNet and Fiserv predominating, this market is soon set for liberalisation of the acquiring space ... this will most likely begin during 2021.

Online Acquiring:
Online transactions paid for with cards grew about fivefold between 2014 and 2020, reaching almost $500 million
in the latter year. VFR forecasts an additional 32% growth in 2021.

Regulatory and Markets Information:
Propelled by key provisions in 2014's Financial Inclusion Law, Uruguay strongly developed its retail payment systems in the second half of the decade just ended.

Uruguay Payments Report | Entities Referenced

Abitab
ABN AMRO
AlfaBROU
American Airlines
American Express
Anda
Banco de la República Oriental del
Banco Heritage
Banco Itaú Uruguay
Bandes Uruguay
BankBoston
Banred
BCU
BEVSA
BHU
BIGO
BROU
Buquebus
BVM
Cabal
Cámara de la Economía Digital de Uruguay
CEDU
Central Bank of Uruguay
Clearing de Informes
Corresponsales Financieros
Costa Urbana
Cretitel
Devoto
Diners Club
Disco
Equifax
Financial Correspondents
Géant
Hipermás
HSBC
Infocred
Italcred
Itaú
JCB
Las Piedras
LATAM Airlines
Mastercard
Metering
Metraje
Midinero
Moneygram
Montevideo Shopping
Montevideo Stock Exchange
MoRe Mobile Remittance
Mortgage Bank of Uruguay
NBC
Nuevo Banco Comercial
OCA
Organización de Crédito Automático
Paganza
Passcard
Peñarol
Portones
Prepaga BPS
Prex
Pronto!
Punta Carretas
Redbrou
Redes de Pagos y Cobranzas
Redpagos
RedPOS
Santander
Scanntech
Scotiabank
Sistarbanc
Sistema de Pagos Electrónicos
SPE
SSF
Superintendence of Financial Services
Tienda Inglesa
Uruguay
Visa
VisaNet
Volar
Western Union
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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 in Latin America. Analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with Latin American industry executives and experts.

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