Payments in Latin America: Interview with Carlos Steneri

In case you have not noticed, yet, fintech is absolutely booming in Latin America. The market was obviously ripe for disruption, and a number of fintech companies have emerged to become global giants. But what is really going on in LATAM? What are the key trends? As ever, the easiest way to understand what is happening is to ask someone who is riding the disruption wave. So we asked a few questions to Carlos Steneri, the CSO of Bamboo Payment. He leads the fintech’s global expansion and sales strategy, working closely with operations, finance and IT to deliver a world-class payments platform.

Tell us more about Bamboo Payment. What is your elevator pitch?

We are the one-stop shop for payment facilitation in Latin America. Bamboo Payment enables global companies to collect payment for goods and services across the entire region and also process payout requests to partners, collaborators and content creators.

Companies can connect to Bamboo Payment via a single integration and automatically offer hundreds of local payment options to hundreds of millions of consumers. Without the need to register local offices in each country or worry about local taxes and regulations. They can manage their entire operation via our easy-to-use online portal and request international settlements of their funds be sent to any bank account around the world.

What is the story behind the company?

The diverse professional journeys of our team have enabled us to develop a unique synergy based on our comprehensive, integral knowledge of the vast payments’ industry. With expertise in traditional banking, remittances, online payment gateways, credit card acquirers, and technology service companies, we bring to the table decades of industry experience from leading institutions around the world.

In 2020, we formed Bamboo Payment by acquiring a pioneering payments gateway in Uruguay. We then invested in infrastructure, technology and partnership development to evolve into a leading regional payments’ facilitator.

What makes the LATAM payments market so special? And what are the main challenges?

Traditionally, LATAM consumers have lagged in credit card adoption rates as well as online purchases compared to the rest of the world. Furthermore, the LATAM payment landscape is very diverse: many countries have disparate credit and debit solutions and alternative payment methods, as well as considerably different regulatory frameworks. This complex, fractured landscape makes it extremely challenging for global companies to maximize coverage across the entire region.

On the other hand, due to the global pandemic, we have seen major changes across the region and online purchases have skyrocketed. Thus, the time is ripe for global business to tap into the LATAM market and take advantage of shifts in consumer behaviour. With very little investment and without losing focus of their core business, companies can utilize Bamboo Payment as their port of entry to Latin America.

What do you see as the key trends in payments right now?

As mentioned above, in Latin America we are seeing a shift from alternative payment methods – for example cash payments and local bank transfers – to local credit and debit cards. It is important to point out that although more LATAM consumers now have credit and debit cards, they are usually local cards which can only be used for purchases within the country’s borders. This is one of the reasons why Bamboo Payment is such a useful tool for global companies, we allow them to easily sell their products and services from anywhere in the world via these local payment methods.

Any innovation in fintech more broadly that you are really excited about?

We’re seeing transformative new electronic payment solutions, mainly focused on eWallets, which are permitting consumers to leapfrog existing payments solutions. If we compare this to other significant fintech advancements, I would say it is similar to the effects M-Pesa had in Africa during the early 2000s by enabling millions of consumers to conduct electronic payments while bypassing the adoption of credit/debit cards.

Any plans for the future or product roadmap you want people to know about?

Beyond offering the most comprehensive coverage of PAYIN and PAYOUT solutions across the LATAM region, we are perfecting our B2B payout platform as well as analysing instalment plans and financing for online purchases. Also, as we continue to expand our operations throughout Latin America, we will be securing additional partnerships with relevant companies and financial institutions.

As our global society recovers from COVID-19 and keeps travelling along the path toward resuming daily life, Bamboo Payment is excited to continue helping connect companies, collaborators, creators, and consumers across borders around the world.