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Uruguay Country Report

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  • Published Date: October 2017 – Update available October 2020

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


  • Uruguay's banking sector consolidated very rapidly between 2000 and 2014, going from 20 to 11 institutions.
  • Between 2015 and 2016, the number of banks held steady while remaining highly liquid and well-capitalised.
  • The 2014 Financial Inclusion Law, which focused on access to financial services, migration to electronic payments and the formalisation of the economy, has had a positive effect on the retail banking and payments landscape.
  • Measures such as VAT reductions for card payments, merchant incentives to accept cards and obliging employers to pay employees electronically have boosted card use.
  • Just under half of all adults in the country are credit cardholders with the average cardholder carrying 2.5 cards.
  • Debit cards are growing in popularity as a payment instrument but are still primarily used to withdraw cash.
  • In common with other Latin American markets, there are several credit card schemes competing in Uruguay. The top three – Visa, Mastercard and OCA – constitute three-quarters of the market.
  • The debit card networks' market is split between Mastercard and Visa, with the former holding a clear lead over the latter.
  • The credit card landscape in Uruguay has three key issuer groups: Itau-OCA (with 32.4 per cent market share), Scotiabank-Pronto! (18.2 per cent) and Santander-Creditel (11.2 per cent).
  • Merchant acquiring is split along network lines. VisaNet, as Visa acquirer, is the market leader followed by First Data (Mastercard acquirer) and OCA.

Uruguay Payments Research | Report Contents

Demographics and Economy:
Outlines the key metrics and trends which influence the development of retail banking and payments in the country:

  • Population structure
  • Income
  • Mobile and internet use
  • Economic data

Retail Banking:
Explores the structure of the local banking system, its infrastructure and the leading players. Data includes:

  • Aggregate retail banking indicators
  • Bank branch, ATMs and POS terminals
  • The profitability of top banks

Consumer Finance:
Overview of consumer finance in the country. Categories analysed include:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card loans
  • Vehicle loans

Credit Cards:
Industry-leading credit card coverage. We detail the past present and future of the industry through our credit card data and commentary, including:

  • Market size split by consumer and commercial credit cards: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume
  • Profit pool analysis
  • Competitive landscape: networks, issuers

Debit Cards:

  • Market size: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume
  • Competitive landscape: networks, issuers

Prepaid Cards:

  • Market size: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume


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.

See more Latin America Country Reports or explore the full range of payments research reports available for 72 markets.

To find out more or to discuss subscription options, please email: research_enquiries@verisk.com or telephone: +44(0)20 7337 4200.