Speaking with SBC, Pagsmile, Head of Business for Argentina, Sofia Van Thienen, discusses the payment service provider’s presence within Latin America, the changing regulatory environment and the importance of localised payments.
SBC: Firstly, are you able to tell us more about Pagsmile and the footprint you have in Latin America?
Pagsmile is a payment service provider that allows merchants all over the world to collect Payins in 14 LatAm countries and also offers the Payout solution in eight of them. We are growing by leaps and bounds in the region. We currently have local entities in six countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Peri and Chile.
One of our main footprints is our local entity in Brazil, that has been functioning for over seven years. Moreover, we will be getting our Money Institution License in Brazil, which will connect us directly with the Central Bank, improving the quality and efficiency of our services.
We take great pride in this achievement since we are one of the few companies in getting this license because of our excellent performance.
SBC: What have been the biggest milestones for Pagsmile over the last few months?
Our biggest achievement during the last months was our outstanding performance during the Qatar Football World Cup.
Our weekly metrics were considerably higher than figures we have seen before and our API was on top of it constantly (the volume went over 50% the normal rates). Pagsmile had full stability and reaction to it. We are happy to have left this footprint in the Latin American market.
SBC: When it comes to regulatory principles are there any comparisons to be made to the European market, are there any specific markets that are similar?
Regulatory markets will be similar no matter their jurisdiction. In fact, by regulating the industry, regulators are looking forward to controlling and taking care of all the legal business, protecting the industry from anything which may cause any issues – both for stakeholders and bettors themselves.
Latin American regulated countries are trying to apply similar processes as in Europe, a more experienced market. This has already been done in Europe for many years which means that Latin America has plenty to learn from.
SBC: What are some of the lessons that can be learned from the more mature European market?
What we can learn from the European market is that only those operators and providers that comply with all the rules and have the backup and have the magnitude to comply with all the requirements, like Pagsmile, are the ones who will remain in function. Pagsmile is already working on that to reach the highest standards.
SBC: Are there any regulatory trends in Latin America that make the region more challenging or accommodating to payment innovation?
Regulation in Latin America is coming on strong. Local countries are moving faster on this matter. Because of this, partnering with a local payment provider will allow foreign merchants to be on top of the situation and be able to face any twist in the industry.
SBC: Are regional regulations in Latin America accommodating expansion across the region?
The Latin America regulations differ in each country, there is no such a regional law or regulator. At the moment Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico are requesting local licenses on sports betting and gambling companies. We are also familiar with the ongoing projects in Brazil and sooner or later in Peru.
SBC: Is there a particular market that you believe is leading the way for LatAm’s gaming potential?
Undoubtedly, Brazil. It has a combination that is unique: it is the country with the highest population density, and at the same time, it has the most popular payment method in the region. Last but not least, it also counts with an uncommon economic stability in Latin America, and an incredible passion for football.
SBC: In terms of trends, are there any standout payment trends when it comes to Latin American consumer habits in Latin America?
The most famous payment method at this time would be PIX for Brazil. In the year 2022, PIX had more that 24 billion transactions; an average of 66 million daily operations, consolidating itself as the most popular payment method in Brazil. It is estimated that in the year 2023, its statistics will be as successful as these ones.
Besides PIX, each country has its own familiar solutions as PSE for Colombia or OXXO for Mexico. We encourage all countries to develop their own PIX as its performance is outstanding.
SBC: Can you give us some details on some of the innovations that we should look out for from Pagsmile?
At this moment our API covers a total of 14 Latin American countries, four more countries than last SBC event. We also added new payment methods to the already available countries.
Lastly, we also may share that most of our innovations are related to our API improvements and technology investments. These kinds of innovations help us enhance our performance and stability.