The situation should be used to discourage the use of cash: BBVA


The pandemic of Covid-19 has accelerated the use of digital means of payment. BBVA Mexico considers that this situation should be taken advantage of to continue promoting them and discouraging the use of cash.

“We believe that the situation of the pandemic should be taken advantage of, where people have been losing their fear of digital media, to significantly intensify the use of means of digital payment, and to discourage use of cash”Said Carlos Serrano, chief economist at BBVA Mexico.

The bank presented the study “Towards a contactless economy”, which shows how the trends in payments have accelerated, but also in digital inclusion, electronic commerce, digital economy, and distance education and work, with the challenges that this implies .

BBVA’s chief economist highlighted that a Mexico in which there is much less use of cash will be a better country, given that if the battle can be fought, there will be less crime as well as tax evasion and transfers of people, and at the same time greater efficiency in transactions.

He mentioned that today 85% of payments in the country are made in cash, so the potential is enormous.

“We believe that we can go the roads of the Nordic countries where now there is practically no cash. There it is the other way around: there more than 90% of all payments are made by digital means. Even those countries have gone to the extreme of reducing many of the banknotes in circulation, “he said.

Serrano considered that Mexico could also start by eliminating the highest denomination banknotes, which are, he said, those most used in crime and corruption activities.

“So the potential is huge. We can go from a balance that we have of 85% of payments in cash, to one the other way around, where 80 or 90% is made digital as it happens in the Nordic countries ”, he emphasized.

In addition to this, the economist highlighted the health benefits of digital payments, as he mentioned that a bill, according to various studies, has millions of bacteria.

In this sense, he estimated that this trend of greater use of digital channels to make payments, which has been intensified by the pandemic, is here to stay.

Behavior of digital transactions

The chief economist of BBVA Mexico said that in recent months there has been progress towards contactless means of payment.

In the case of Mexico, he explained that although at the beginning of the pandemic there was a tendency to have more cash, afterwards there was already a 21.4% drop in the withdrawal of money from ATMs between April and August.

At the same time, he pointed out, between June and August 2020, on average, interbank transfer operations grew 62.7% by SPEI compared to the same period last year; and in these months, operations through CoDi exceeded 100 million pesos. In addition, an increase in card payments was also already reflected.

Hugo Nájera, general director of customer solutions at BBVA, explained that in the case of this bank, from January to August 2020, teller transactions decreased 32%, compared to the same period in 2019; while in ATMs the decrease was 5%, and in contrast, digital operations rose by 50 percent.

“Yes, there is a very important change in the use of the bank’s channels. This that we have achieved by having the transactions and products available in our application, has allowed us to have these figures, “he said.

Good expectations with the CoDi

Both the economist and the manager of BBVA México agreed that the digital collection platform, CoDi, is a good choice of contactless payment, as they recognized that although their instrumentation had a pause due to the pandemic, the potential is great.

“I have very good expectations of what will happen to him. CoDi in the next years. You have to affiliate and little by little it will take its place in the payment means market, ”Najera explained.

Meanwhile, Serrano commented: “we believe that at some point it will reach a critical mass and that from there we can see more explosive growth. We have a country with a very high penetration of mobile telephony, with a high use of cash that is inefficient, and we believe these two combinations will result in payments eventually moving towards that channel ”.

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