The Central Reserve Bank of Peru (BCR) issued Circular No. 0024-2022, which mandates interoperability between all digital wallets and mobile payments operating in the country. This step was welcomed by both users and the financial sector, as it is also a step forward for the development of Open Finance.
The Interoperability Regulation for Payment Services Provided by Payment Providers, Agreements, and Systems recently issued, will allow transactions between all digital wallets in Peru, regardless of who their payment provider is, which leads to significant benefits for both users and the industry in general.
According to the Peruvian Banking Association, 14.6 million digital wallet users will benefit from the new regulation. The wallets have had great growth in recent years and it is expected that 2022 will close with 17 million users.
Meanwhile, according to a study by Ipsos and Credicorp, one out of every five Peruvians acknowledges having a digital wallet, which makes Peru one of the three Latam countries with the highest adoption of this system, only behind Panama (33%) and Colombia (24%).
For Jose Gómez, Sensedia's country manager for Peru and Colombia, "interoperability will bring benefits such as easier access to financial products, greater financial inclusion, and the digitalization of retail businesses". On this last point, the Peruvian Banking Association estimates that by 2021, 60,000 businesses will already be affiliated with a virtual wallet.
"The use of these digital wallets is a great opportunity to achieve financial inclusion for more entrepreneurs, without the need for them to have a financial product. Likewise, their use also contributes to reducing the risk of fraud or theft, as well as to save time, reduce the use of cash and facilitate online purchases, among other benefits," said Gómez.
According to Ipsos, Yape (89%) is the most used wallet in Peru, followed by Plin (52%), then Tunki (14%), then Agora (14%), and finally BIM (5%). The main reasons why users prefer to use virtual wallets are because they do not charge commissions and because payments are made instantly.
He added that interoperability is the first step toward Open Finance. This trend is gaining more and more strength in the region due to the different regulations to implement Open Banking in several countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.
Circular No. 0024-2022-BCRP establishes that by October 31, 2022, at the latest, entities must submit their "interoperability schedule", and then deliver a "progress report" by January 31, 2023, at the latest.
Interoperable payment services "must be made available to users by March 31, 2023″ at the latest. In other words, Peruvians will be able to make transactions between all digital wallets as of that date
On the other hand, the collection of commissions or fees for interoperable payment services must be transparent and non-discriminatory for users, said the BCR. In this regard, it also stressed that the cost must be real, so as not to limit access and use of electronic wallets.