Chile Cashless Payments Continue to Gain Traction
Introduction to Chile
An overview of Chile's currency, population and key statistics.
Chile's official currency is the Chilean peso (CLP or CL$). It operates as a floating currency, meaning that its exchange rate is determined by the forces of supply and demand in the private market, with occasional government intervention to maintain stability.
There are several denominations of coins in circulation, including 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 pesos, alongside banknotes with denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 pesos. While travelling within Chile, it is advisable to carry smaller notes, especially when venturing outside major cities, as obtaining change for larger denominations may prove challenging
In 2022, the Central Bank of Chile established a dedicated team to spearhead the development of a digital currency to foster economic growth and innovation. This initiative involves the creation of a central bank digital currency, which essentially represents a digital rendition of the peso.
According to United Nations data, Chile had a population of 19,116,201 in mid-2020. Worldometer's analysis of the latest UN data indicates that the country had a population of 19,221,632 as of February 22, 2021, with 84.8% residing in urban regions centred around the capital Santiago. The median age stood at 35.3 years. In addition, data Reportal reported that Chile had an estimated 15.78 million active internet users as of January 2021.
Languages spoken in Chile
Spanish is the designated official language of Chile and it is spoken by approximately 99.3% of the country's population. The primary dialect used is Chilean Spanish, while variations such as Andean Spanish and Chilean Catalan are also prevalent.
Chile experienced a remarkable economic recovery in 2021, with its gross domestic product expanding by 11.7%, making it one of the fastest-growing economies globally. This growth was primarily fuelled by increased consumer spending, driven by factors such as pension fund withdrawals and substantial financial assistance amounting to 9% of the country's GDP.
Chile had a gross savings rate of 16.8% as of December 2022, unchanged from the previous quarter. This rate, which is updated quarterly, has averaged 16.8% since March 1996.
Based on the PPRO Report, 74% of Chile's population possessed bank accounts as of 2020. However, only 29.8% of these individuals were credit card holders.
Chile internet & mobile phone trends
Data compiled by Statista showed people in the 25-to-34-year age group accounting for 21.5% of all internet users in the country in 2020. Datareportal's research indicated that Chile had 15.78 million internet users as of January 2021, reflecting an increase of approximately 108,000 (+0.7%) from the previous year. Additionally, the internet penetration rate stood at 82.3% in January 2020. The data also showed that 72% of the population had smartphones in 2020.
Chile e-commerce stats
Chile continues to encounter significant hurdles in developing an e-commerce market due to its relatively low levels of internet, banking, and smartphone usage.
According to the PPRO Report, Chile had average revenue per paying user of $913 per year in 2020. While 69% of cross-border e-commerce transactions made by Chilean shoppers are of high value, there is a lack of available data specific to the country's situation.
Summary of Chile's fiscal policy
Chile's robust macroeconomic structure is characterised by distinct qualities supporting its resilience and promoting investment. These features encompass a cautious fiscal policy upheld by a fiscal rule and a well-functioning framework for inflation targeting led by an independent central bank.
In the immediate term, the primary focus is preventing contagion and supporting the most vulnerable families, workers, and businesses. Following the global health crisis and the commencement of the recovery phase, Chile needs to continue its agenda for reform, ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are shared more equitably among all Chileans.
Recent years saw Chile facing two unprecedented shocks: the social protests in late 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic. These events have challenged the country's achievements and revealed gaps within the existing framework.
Despite a gradual recovery in revenue, the fiscal deficit expanded to 7.7% of GDP in 2021 due to increased public expenditure. Consequently, public debt has risen to 37% of GDP – the highest level in 30 years – despite the extensive use of public savings funds.
How people pay in Chile
An overview of how people in Chile choose to make payments.
Most popular payment methods
The most popular traditional payment methods used in Chile.
Visa offers electronic payment solutions through Visa-branded credit or debit cards. Some examples of Visa card providers in Chile include BBVA, Banco BICE, Banco Santander, Banco de Chile, Banco de Crédito e Inversiones, Banco del Estado de Chile, and CMR Falabella.
Global payment and technology company Mastercard offers its service of processing payments between retailers' banks and card-issuing banks. Some examples of Mastercard providers in Chile include Banco Ripley, CMR Falabella, and BICE.
American Express is a company that provides various financial services, such as credit cards, charge cards, and traveller's cheques. Even though Amex is not as commonly accepted as Visa or Mastercard in Chile, some merchants can still use it, mainly in the travel and hospitality sectors.
Alternative payment methods (APMs)
The top APMs used in Chile
Apple Pay, a mobile payment service from Apple Inc., allows users to make in-person, online, and in-app payments. It replaces chip and PIN transactions at contactless terminals.
PayPal is a frequently used digital payment system that allows clients to use their PayPal accounts, debit/credit cards, or bank accounts. Customers use PayPal for secure online shopping and to send/receive money.
Servipag, a Chilean payment portal, offers offline payment options for online purchases to individuals without payment cards or internet banking. In addition, customers visiting the Servipag website have the convenience of paying bills online through alternative payment methods. With an impressive monthly transaction volume of approximately 9 million, Servipag efficiently handles a significant number of transactions.
Wibond, a rapidly expanding technology company, offers a convenient payment solution enabling individuals to make instalment payments without needing a traditional card. The company's primary objective is to deliver a distinctive and innovative experience to stimulate trade within Latin America.
WebPay is an internet-based payment solution available in Chile. Customers can choose WebPay Plus as their preferred payment method when they reach the checkout stage. They can finalise the transaction by using either a bank card or Redcompra.
How to accept payments in Chile
A guide to accepting payments in Chile.
How to accept online payments in Chile
Before accepting online payments, you must determine which methods you prefer. Then you can choose a payment gateway provider, a service that authorises and processes online payments with their specific system.
The 4-party payment model
Although there are plenty of payment gateway options in Chile, the general process for online payments typically involves an acquirer, issuer, retailer, and cardholder in the following steps known as the 4-party payment model:
The cardholder initiates a payment by presenting their payment card to the retailer to purchase goods or services.
The retailer sends the payment details to the acquirer, who processes the payment request and sends it to the payment scheme (such as Mastercard or Visa).
The payment scheme sends the payment request to the issuer (such as a bank or licensed issuer) who issued the card to the cardholder.
The issuer checks if the cardholder has enough funds to complete the transaction and approves or declines the payment request. if the payment is approved, the issuer sends an authorisation code to the payment scheme.
The payment scheme sends the authorisation code to the acquirer, which then sends it to the retailer, completing the transaction.
How long does an international payment from Chile take?
The payment processing time may vary depending on the method and the recipient's bank. For instance, online money transfers through platforms like PayPal can quickly and conveniently send money to multiple destinations.
Bank debit/credit cards: International payments with bank debit or credit cards may take a few minutes to a few hours, depending on bank processing times.
Online money transfers: Platforms like PayPal can process international payments within minutes to hours, depending on the service and destination country.
Wire transfers: Traditional bank-to-bank transfers via SWIFT or wire may take one to five business days or longer, depending on the destination country, intermediary banks, and transaction requirements.
Merchant fees for online payments in Chile can vary depending on the payment method and the merchant services provider used. Here are some examples of typical merchant fees for online payments in Chile:
Credit and debit cards: Merchant fees for accepting credit and debit card payments online can range according to the transaction amount. It also varies depending on the type of card used and the merchant services provider.
Bank transfers: Bank transfer fees can vary depending on the bank used, with some banks charging a flat fee per transaction and others charging a percentage of the transaction amount.
Other fees surrounding online payments in Chile include charges incurred by merchants, payment processors, and financial institutions involved in the payment processing chain. Below are some common fees:
Interchange fees: Interchange fees are charges paid by merchants' banks to cardholders' banks to cover the costs of processing card transactions. These fees are usually based on a percentage of the transaction value and can vary depending on the type of card used and the merchant's industry.
Payment gateway fees: Payment gateway providers charge a fee for processing transactions on their platform, which may be a percentage of the transaction value or a flat fee per transaction.
Cross-border fees: If a merchant accepts payments from customers outside the country, they may be subject to additional fees for cross-border transactions, including currency conversion fees and international processing fees.
Merchant discount rate: A processing fee that merchants are charged for transactions made using credit or debit cards. This fee generally falls within 1% to 3% of the total transaction amount.
Security challenges of online payments in Chile
In a survey carried out by Paysafe, it was found that 64% of respondents in Latin America expressed discomfort when it comes to providing their financial information online. Additionally, 75% said they had become more concerned about online payment fraud compared to the previous year.
When it comes to the preference between online and traditional banks, the survey showed a strong interest in digital banking, but with some reservations. For instance, 61% of Chileans expressed a willingness to use an online bank but expressed concerns about depositing cash into such platforms. This is slightly higher than the overall response rate for Latin America (54%), North America (44%) and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (43%).
There were notable variations in levels of trust as well. While 56% of respondents indicated a willingness to use an online or neobank, they still had reservations about trusting these institutions with their personal data. In North America, this percentage stood at 43%, while it was even lower at 38% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The survey also showed that the sentiment towards the security of online payments largely aligned with the overall responses from Latin America. Specifically, 64% of participants expressed discomfort when providing their financial information online, and 75% indicated an increased concern about online payment fraud compared with the previous year.
Key sectors & industries in Chile
An overview of the Chile market.
Chile's top 10 industries by revenue
According to the US International Trade Administration and various other sources, the top 10 industries in Chile are:
Energy Chile aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and retire thermal power plants by
2040. They prioritise energy storage, the Green Hydrogen Initiative, and reaching 70% renewable energy consumption by 2030. Over 5,000 megawatts of renewable power will be installed annually between 2022 and 2025 to meet these goals.
Agriculture With 31 international trade agreements covering 65 markets, Chile is a key player in global trade. Its main exports include wine, fresh fruit, dairy, salmon, pork, poultry, and forestry products. In 2021, agriculture accounted for 24.4% of Chilean exports ($21.9 billion), 9% of GDP ($24.2 billion), and employed about 10% of the labour force. US agricultural exports to Chile reached $1.3 billion in 2021, a 29.5% increase from 2020.
Processed Food In 2021, Chile's food and beverage processing sector accounted for 13.5% of the country's exports, valued at $12.8 billion. The Chilean export promotion agency, ProChile, reports that the food processing industry employs 368,316 people. In terms of consumer-oriented products, the United States retained its position as the second-largest supplier to the Chilean market, holding a 14% market share after Brazil.
Retail Food Chile's robust economy has fostered a modern and dynamic retail food industry, with 2021 witnessing a 7.6% increase in sales, totalling $25.6 billion. Supermarkets accounted for $14.4 billion of these sales. The dominant retail groups in Chile are Falabella, Cencosud, Walmart Chile, Ripley, and La Polar.
IT Chile's information technology sector has significant growth potential. According to the International Data Corporation, the country's IT market had a total value of $8.7 billion in 2021. The IT sector accounted for almost 3% of the country's GDP that year. Chile has over 26.32 million cellular connections – the highest number in the region. The country's internet penetration rate of 92% is also the highest in the region.
Mining Chile is the world's top producer of copper, accounting for 28% of global output. It is also the second-largest lithium producer. In 2020, the country produced around 70,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent. The mining industry is a vital part of the Chilean economy, accounting for 11% of GDP and responsible for more than half of the country's exports.
Security Due to the increasing number of violent incidents in Chile, demand for security equipment and services is expected to grow. In addition to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, Chile also regularly experiences wildfires. This allows companies to enter the country's safety and security market.
Healthcare Chile has a mix of private and public healthcare. The country's public healthcare system, known as FONASA, is financed by taxes and provides free or subsidised care to those who cannot afford private insurance. It was one of the first countries in the region to introduce universal healthcare. About 5% of a family's income goes toward healthcare expenses.
Education Chile's education system provides free and compulsory primary education and varying periods of higher study. In 2020, around 77% of children were enrolled in preschool education programs, which is higher than the average among other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Around 63% of children were enrolled in private schools.
Fintech The number of financial technology companies operating in Chile increased by over 150 in 2021. Around four in every million of the country's inhabitants are involved in the industry, making it one of the world's most densely populated fintech markets.
The most valuable products of Chile are copper ore, concentrates, and refined copper. These products accounted for more than two-fifths of the country's total export revenue in
2022. On the other hand, the country's imports include various types of machinery and equipment, plastic products, and mineral fuels.
Regulation in Chile
The regulatory environment of Chile.
Summary of the regulatory environment in Chile
To maintain fairness and operational smoothness in business ventures in Chile, entrepreneurs are required to comply with a range of laws and regulations, which include:
Company law: This includes regulations governing companies' establishment, operations, and dissolution.
Employment law: This includes regulations governing employment contracts, working conditions, and employee rights.
Product liability law: This includes regulations governing the legal liabilities and responsibilities of manufacturers, sellers, distributors, and other parties involved in the production and sale of goods.
Intellectual property law: This includes regulations governing copyrights, patents, and trademarks.
Competition law: This includes regulations governing competition and antitrust matters to promote fair competition.
Consumer protection law: This includes regulations governing the rights of consumers, product safety, and advertising standards.
Data protection law: This includes regulations concerning the collection, use, and storage of personal data.
Several government agencies oversee various aspects of the law related to businesses and consumer rights in Chile. For example, The Ministry of Labour and Social Security oversees anything related to employment laws. Meanwhile, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) regulates how companies file patents or register intellectual property rights.
How card payments are regulated in Chile
In Chile, card payments are regulated by the central bank through laws, regulations, and guidelines. The General Law on Banks and Financial Institutions provides the legal framework for payment systems, including cards.
The central bank oversees the payment system, ensuring safety, efficiency, and stability. It regulates interchange fees, governs payment card networks (such as Visa and Mastercard), and promotes security measures to prevent fraud. These efforts aim to ensure transparent, competitive, and secure card payments in Chile.
Do I need a licence to do business in Chile?
Yes. In Chile, you must have a business licence to start a company. In addition to this, you also need to acquire other licences and permits for different types of enterprises.
Payment solutions in Chile
An overview of how to accept payments from customers in Chile.
Payment gateways and providers in Chile
In the rapidly evolving business landscape of today, companies need to ensure a seamless payment experience for their customers to achieve success. Acknowledging this critical requirement, APEXX, a prominent payment technology company headquartered in London, presents a comprehensive solution tailored to Chilean merchants seeking to accept payments from various providers.
Recognising the significance of catering to diverse payment methods to accommodate customer preferences and improve their overall experience, businesses need an efficient and streamlined payment processing solution. APEXX addresses this demand with its Payment Orchestration Layer (POL) platform, which serves as a centralised hub connecting multiple payment providers, including banks, acquirers, and alternative payment methods.
With APEXX POL, businesses can easily manage multiple payment options through a single platform, simplifying their payment processing operations. This robust platform offers a wide range of features designed to optimise payment efficiency.
One of its notable features is intelligent routing, which automatically selects the most suitable payment provider for each transaction based on factors such as cost, currency, and risk assessment. By doing so, APEXX POL enables businesses to reduce transaction fees and minimise the risk of payment failures.
Integration of APEXX POL into existing payment systems is seamless and straightforward. The platform provides a variety of APIs and pre-built plugins, facilitating integration with various e-commerce websites and point-of-sale systems. This flexibility allows businesses to smoothly incorporate APEXX POL into their infrastructure, eliminating disruptions or complexities.
APEXX is a trusted payment provider dedicated to delivering innovative solutions that address the evolving needs of businesses in Chile and beyond. With its comprehensive payment orchestration capabilities, APEXX empowers businesses to effectively manage multiple payment options, optimise payment processing, and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction.
Cheapest payment solutions in Chile
To reduce fees in their payment stacks, merchants in Chile can implement the following strategies:
Negotiate fees: Merchants should negotiate with their payment providers for better rates, which can include transaction fees, interchange fees, and monthly fees.
Choose a suitable payment provider: Merchants should research and compare different payment providers to select the one that offers competitive rates and low fees.
Use alternative payment methods: Merchants can reduce fees by using alternative payment methods such as e-wallets or bank transfers instead of traditional card payments.
Prevent chargebacks: To avoid chargebacks and additional fees, merchants can offer clear product descriptions, prompt customer complaint resolution, and refunds when necessary.
Implement fraud prevention measures: Merchants should adopt fraud prevention measures to prevent fraudulent transactions, which can lead to chargebacks and additional fees.
Monitor payment processing fees: Merchants should keep a close eye on their payment processing fees and use payment analytics tools to track their expenses and identify areas where they can reduce costs.
Merchants can also consider using payment aggregators such as APEXX, which allow them to accept multiple payment methods through a single platform, reducing the need for multiple payment providers and lowering costs.
BNPL in Chile
The use of BNPL services in Chile is projected to experience substantial growth of 58.8% in 2023 to a total of $1,060.3 million. This significant expansion can be attributed to the increasing prevalence of e-commerce in the country, which has contributed to the robust growth of the BNPL payment industry over the past four quarters.
Looking ahead, the prospects of the BNPL industry in Chile appear promising in the medium to long term. The adoption of BNPL payments is anticipated to continue its steady upward trajectory throughout the forecast period, with a compound annual growth rate of 35.3% from 2023 to 2028.
As a result, the BNPL gross merchandise value in the country is expected to surge to $4,811.5 million by 2028 from $667.8 million in 2022.
Merchants in Chile can use APEXX to integrate different payment systems or providers, such as Wibond and WebPay, to provide BNPL options to their customers and effectively manage their payment systems.