Eva Bueno, global head, cash management for Global Transaction Banking at Santander, explains how payments innovations help local businesses cope with Covid-19’s impact while providing flexible operations.
Global Finance: How has the pandemic affected payments innovations in Latin America?
Eva Bueno: Covid-19 triggered an increase in demand for rapid digitalization and modernization of the payments landscape. Banks are introducing new technologies to completely transform payment models based on the customers’ evolving needs and to establish an efficient and flexible process for clients operating across the world. Security, speed and convenience are some of the many advantages of digital payments—especially in economies highly dependent on cash and checks, as is the case in Latin America.
GF: What recent payments innovations has Santander introduced in the region?
Bueno: Santander, with a firm commitment to product development, keeps successfully delivering innovative solutions in the digital arena to make our clients’ lives easier. The “Echeq” in Argentina was enriched in 2021 with Collections E-Check functionality. And the bank implemented virtual wallets for business-to-business-to-consumer transactions, allowing clients to receive online credits into their accounts and have collection reports and detailed information from the e-business suite.
In Brazil, Santander has developed QR Pix, which allows QR code generation and real-time online reconciliation. When it comes to Chile, we will become the first bank that is compliant with Swift’s global payments innovation (GPI) standard.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, we developed the GPI Tracker and started offering a direct API [application programming interface] connection for our clients to streamline their transaction processing. Finally, in Colombia, we developed the Secure Payment Button (PSE), which allows companies to centralize collections digitally.
GF: What are the main benefits of a single global cash management portal?
Bueno: At Santander Corporate and Investment Banking, we are constantly looking to modernize the payment process. Thanks to our cash management platform, Santander Cash Nexus, our clients can stay connected and carry out payments worldwide and locally from a single and standardized point of entry, therefore making the global payment process simpler and more secure.
GF: What about the unbanked and microbusinesses?
Bueno: Santander—through its Superdigital mobile financial-inclusion app, which is intended for those who are unbanked or lack sufficient access to financial services—acts as a digital relationship platform for unbanked consumers whose needs are not currently addressed by Santander’s existing offerings.
Finally, Getnet, currently among the three largest acquirers by volume of transactions in Latin America and the second-largest acquirer in e-commerce transactions in the region, is also the open platform for collections and services of the Santander Group. It covers local and multinational segments and currently operates in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. We plan to deploy Getnet to all the markets where Santander has a global presence in the coming years.