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Visualised: Latin America’s Unbanked Population



The following content is sponsored by Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust

The Briefing

  • According to the World Bank, 122 million people in Latin America were considered unbanked in 2021.
  • Creative payment solutions such as those posed by eCommerce company MercadoLibre help these populations access digital markets.

Visualising Latin America’s Unbanked Population

Did you know that as of 2021, a staggering 1.9 billion people globally were unbanked, and 122 million of those were in Latin America?

This figure highlights the pressing need to address financial exclusion in the region, especially considering its booming eCommerce market.

In this post, sponsored by Scottish Mortgage, we shed light on the unbanked population in Latin America and examine the steps being taken to provide them with banking services.

Mapping Latin America’s Unbanked

Here’s a look at several of the largest economies in the region and their unbanked populations using the latest data from the World Bank:

Country NameUnbanked (%), 2021
🇨🇱 Chile13%
🇧🇷 Brazil16%
🇦🇷 Argentina28%
🇨🇴 Colombia40%
🇵🇪 Peru43%

The number of people without access to banking services in Latin America differs by country. In Colombia, for instance, 40% of the population is unbanked. However, approximately 2 million individuals opened bank accounts in 2019, which helped contribute to a decrease in the overall unbanked population from 54% in 2017 to its current level.

The reduction of Argentina’s unbanked population has also been relatively slow compared to other parts of the continent. This can be attributed, in part, to the delayed implementation of their real-time payment system, which only came online in 2020.

Enter MercadoLibre

Being unbanked means you can’t access safe, modern payment and savings options as well as eCommerce. So, the need to tackle financial exclusion is more important than ever. One company poised to make a significant impact in this regard is MercadoLibre. 

Using its creative digital payment solutions and cash deposit options, MercadoLibre is determined to bridge the gap between the unbanked populations in countries like Chile, Colombia, and Argentina.

Digital Banking for All

Addressing financial exclusion in Latin America is set to have a whole host of benefits, in particular for the unbanked who could gain access to eCommerce platforms and safe, modern banking solutions. But there is more work to do.  

MercadoLibre is helping to secure a place for the unbanked in Latin America’s booming eCommerce market, by making digital payment solutions accessible for all as one of Scottish Mortgage’s pioneers of digitisation.

Want to invest in transformative companies like MercadoLibre? Discover Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, a portfolio of some of the world’s most exciting growth companies.

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