Fintech companies looking to carry over their wave of disruption, especially in the online payments space can look to Latin America for potential opportunities. This, in turn, could create interest in fintech-focused ETFs looking to add to their core portfolios of financial disruption companies by looking outside of developed markets.
In Latin America, online payments is still a relatively new concept as opposed to more developed economies where they have become standard fare.
“For those who have never experienced this issue, it can be hard to imagine the frustration of not being able to pay for things online,” a Nasdaq article noted. “However, this problem is still pervasive across Latin America. Legacy payment processors built by banks are unable to keep up with increased demand for online payments as e-commerce grows in the region.”
The article went on to identify reasons why online payments have yet to break open as standard technology.
Several barriers are keeping Latin American companies from processing payments online, including lack of authentication technology, limits to cross-border transactions, and low financial inclusion,” the article said. “Up to 65% of adults in Latin America still do not have access to any formal financial services, meaning they do not have credit or debit cards, or bank accounts, to be able to pay online in the first place.”
While entrepreneurial efforts are helping to make online payments more accessible, regulatory measures are making this more difficult.
“While startups are launching in nearly every Latin American country to face digital payment needs, most of these companies have not been able to expand out of their home markets due to regulations,” the article stated. “However, the recent success of Brazilian ‘Stripe clone’ and unicorn, Ebanx, provides optimism. Startups like Ecuador’s Kushki and Mexico’s Conekta are also among the first to expand across borders in Latin America, helping startups and corporations easily integrate online payments that do not bounce, redirect, or reject international cards.”
The payment processing space is seeing a growing number of big bets placed by venture capitalists, which could give financial technology ETFs a boost. It’s a $1.9 trillion industry that the largest tech firms are trying to tap into.
Fintech: A Growing Space
Payments are increasingly going digital with a number of start-ups seeing venture capital seed money to help facilitate online purchases. According to research company Pitchbook, data shows that investors put $18.5 billion into the payment processing sector in 2018–an increase of five times the previous year.
ETFs to look at in the growing fintech space include the Global X FinTech ETF (NasdaqGM: FINX) and the ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (NYSEArca: ARKF). ARKF invests in equity securities of companies that ARK believes are shifting financial services and economic transactions to technology infrastructure platforms, ultimately revolutionizing financial services by creating simplicity and accessibility while driving down costs.
FINX seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Indxx Global Fintech Thematic Index. The underlying index is designed to provide exposure to exchange-listed companies in developed markets that provide financial technology products and services, including companies involved in mobile payments, peer-to-peer (P2P) and marketplace lending, financial analytics software and alternative currencies, as defined by the index provider.
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