The leading Latin American countries by total number of fintech startups were some of the regions’ largest economies based on gross domestic product: Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. On a more local level, São Paulo, Mexico City, and Bogotá proved to be the region’s most important fintech hubs based on the number of fintech initiatives they hosted. The sector of payment and remittances was the one with the highest concentration of fintechs in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina. Other key fintech segments included lending, enterprise financial management and crypto-currencies.
In Brazil, the startups Creditas, Nubank and GuiaBolso were considered some of the most successful fintechs, whereas in Mexico, the companies Clip, Kueski and Kubo.financiero were among the startups that were able to raise the largest amount of funds during investment rounds. When it comes to revenue, the majority of Latin American fintechs seemed to be in their early stages, focusing on growth. For example, more than half of Colombian fintech startups reported generating less than one hundred thousand U.S. dollars in revenue in 2017.
Fintech adoption still faces crucial challenges in the Latin American region. In 2017, it was found that around 40 percent of the digitally active population in Brazil were fintech users, whereas in Mexico that percentage amounted to only 36 percent, one of the main reasons being the lack of knowledge about these initiatives among Mexican consumers. A recent survey in Colombia also revealed that the lack of financial education, along with deficient financial infrastructure, were the main barriers towards fintech innovation.