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The content of this report will be updated with the latest scenarios based on the global COVID-19 Pandemic


Uruguay has seen a gradual shift towards electronic methods of payment during the review period (2015-19e). The government has taken steps to promote electronic payments and reduce the dependence on cash in the last few years. The introduction of a financial inclusion law in 2014 was one of the major milestones; as a result, the percentage of the Uruguayan population aged 15 or above with a bank account rose from 52.6% in 2015 to 71.0% in 2019.

The number of payment cards in circulation, transaction volume, and transaction value recorded robust review-period compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 7.1%, 22.9%, and 14.2% respectively - a trend that is anticipated to continue over the forecast period (2019e-23f). The emergence of contactless technology is also expected to support Uruguayan payment card market growth.

Debit card growth has been supported by the country’s rising banked population, the government’s financial inclusion initiatives, the availability of low-cost bank accounts, and rising adoption of payroll accounts. However, debit card usage is largely restricted to ATM cash withdrawals. To encourage use for payments, the government has taken measures such as reducing VAT on debit card purchases and prohibiting merchants from setting minimum amounts for accepting debit card payments. As a result, debit cards are anticipated to overtake credit cards in terms of card payment transaction value in 2019.

Credit card penetration has traditionally been high in Uruguay compared to many of its regional peers - with each individual holding at least one card on average. This is partly because many banks offer additional cards to existing card holders at no extra cost. To drive credit card usage, banks offer benefits including installment facilities and insurance, as well as loyalty programs and benefits such as reward points and discounts. The reduction in merchant service charges will help drive credit card acceptance among merchants, which in turn should boost the number of credit card payments.

During the review period, the Uruguayan prepaid card market has registered CAGRs of 88.8% and 131.5% in terms of circulation and transaction value. Growth has been supported by the government’s financial inclusion law, which encourages the usage of prepaid cards for various purposes like salary credit. In addition, prepaid cards are used for traveling, public transport, and food coupons. Card issuers also offer co-branded prepaid cards, employ a variety of reward benefits, and use consumer segmentation strategies to drive uptake and usage.

The report "Payments Landscape in Uruguay: Opportunities and Risks to 2023", provides detailed analysis of market trends in Uruguay’s cards and payments industry. It provides values and volumes for a number of key performance indicators in the industry, including cards, credit transfers, cheques and direct debits during the review-period (2015-19e). The report also analyzes various payment card markets operating in the industry, and provides detailed information on the number of cards in circulation, transaction values and volumes during the review-period and over the forecast-period (2019e-23f). It also offers information on the country’s competitive landscape, including the market shares of issuers and schemes.

The report brings together research, modeling, and analysis expertise to allow banks and card issuers to identify segment dynamics and competitive advantages. The report also covers details of regulatory policy and recent changes in the regulatory structure.

The report provides -

  • Current and forecast values for each market in Uruguay’s cards and payments industry, including debit and credit cards
  • Detailed insights into payment instruments including cards, credit transfers, cheques and direct debits. It also, includes an overview of the country’s key alternative payment instruments
  • Analysis of various market drivers and regulations governing Uruguay’s cards and payments industry
  • Detailed analysis of strategies adopted by banks and other institutions to market debit and credit cards

Companies mentioned: Banco Republica, Santander, Scotiabank, BBVA, Itau Unibanco, HSBC, Banco Bandes, Banque Heritage, OCA, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club


  • To encourage card payment acceptance among small businesses, in October 2018 the government further reduced the merchant service fee from 1.5% to 1.3% on debit cards and from 4% to 3.5% on credit cards for small businesses. The fee for other businesses remains 1.5% for debit cards and 4% for credit cards. The government plans to further reduce the fees on these cards over the coming years.
  • To further drive POS terminal adoption, the government extended the regulation to provide POS terminals at subsidized rates until December 2019. As part of this the government has placed a cap on the price of POS terminals for 2019. For basic POS terminals the monthly fee must not exceed UYU90 ($2.78), while the monthly fee for wireless POS terminals must not exceed UYU140 ($4.32). In addition, a 40% subsidy is being offered on POS terminals during 2019 to new businesses and businesses with annual turnover of less than UYU4m ($123,484.04). A 100% subsidy is being offered to small taxpayers (“monotributistas”) such as electricians, plumbers, and private tutors until the end of 2019.
  • The government has taken several measures to boost electronic payments. In November 2018 it introduced the APuntaTAXI app, enabling commuters to pay for taxis using their mobile devices. The government also mandated that all taxis in Montevideo must be equipped with POS terminals by the end of May 2019 in order to accept card payments. To reduce cash transactions in government offices, the government mandated that all government agencies must accept electronic payments effective from August 1, 2019. These measures are aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on cash.

Reasons To Buy

  • Make strategic business decisions, using top-level historic and forecast market data, related to Uruguay’s cards and payments industry and each market within it.
  • Understand the key market trends and growth opportunities in Uruguay’s cards and payments industry.
  • Assess the competitive dynamics in Uruguay’s cards and payments industry.
  • Gain insights into marketing strategies used for various card types in Uruguay.
  • Gain insights into key regulations governing Uruguay’s cards and payments industry.