Nearshore Americas
financial inclusion

Panama and Chile Lead in LATAM Financial Inclusion

The growing set of fintech startups and solutions is increasingly speeding up financial inclusion across Latin America, with people in Panama, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador having easier access to banking.

Panama, once known as a tax haven, has the highest proportion of people with access to banking in the region, according to Credicorp Financial Inclusion Index. The Central American country is followed by  Chile, Argentina and Ecuador.

The index measured the financial infrastructure, access to banking and quality of services in eight Latin American countries, including Bolivia, Peru, Mexico and Colombia.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of fintech solutions contributed greatly to incorporating more people into the banking ecosystem. Colombia and Mexico, for example, have seen an explosion in digital transactions since early 2021.

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Gaps still remain in spite of the strides made by Latin America in access to financial services. The report points out, nevertheless, that it comes down to a structural problem instead of shortcommings from banks or regional governments. Poor and marginalized communities in the region have yet to be reached.

Lack of Internet access and poor digital literacy are also counted among the biggest stumbling block in the way of countries trying to extend banking services to all its citizens.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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