Chile: The Importance of Cash and Internet Penetration in e-Commerce
With a population of 18 million people and one of the most sophisticated economies in Latin America, consumers in Chile have been paying most of their bills with cash in the last years.
Chile: The Importance of Cash and Internet Penetration in e-Commerce

High penetration of mobile telephony and great internet penetration in Chile describe a nice scenario for international merchants, as we have already mentioned on our blog. Mobile telephony, for example, is accessed by 70% of the Latin American and Caribbean population, but less than 20% have access to 4G technology with a download speed of 17%. According to the study “The mobile telecommunications revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean“, 4G technology reaches 12 million people and already represents 71% of accesses via mobile internet in Chile.

Other data corroborates the high penetration of mobile telephone access in Chile. According to statistics from Subtel (Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones de Chile – SUBTEL), 84.5% of total internet access is mobile. This reality has been reflected on the consumers’ behavior as they have started using internet to make their purchases: 34.1% of Chileans said they had bought online in the last three months.

With the improvement of internet penetration and the growth of online shopping, it’s only natural that e-commerce is a force to be recognized. Chileans are more confident, and their behavior shows that buying online is now a reality for an increasing number of people.

But as much as e-commerce rises, cash is still used by the majority of Chileans when paying most of their purchases: from everyday necessities (like food, drink and transportation) to monthly rents or even online shopping. It remains the main payment option in the country where Multicaja and Servipag are some of the methods that stand out.

Both, in partnership with BoaCompra, feature different tools. Multicaja, for example, generates a coupon that can be paid in cash at any of its 50,000 affiliated sites. Multicaja is present in more than 30,000 stores throughout Chile with services ranging from refilling cell phones to paying bills.

Servipag also plays a significant role as a secure and fast solution in which Chilean consumers can buy online through more than 20 payment methods, including cash. The company processes, on average, 9 million transactions per month.

With Government efforts, basic banking and financial services are reaching the unbanked population and helping the e-commerce segment. Understanding this fact is important because bank transfers are also another important payment method for anyone who wants to do business in Chile.

Finally, local credit and debit cards also play a key factor in e-commerce transactions. Even though most consumers still prefer cash, players like Mastercard, American Express and Visa are a popular option for many Chileans.

And that’s why boosting sales in this interesting digital market can be easier if different payment methods are offered. E-shoppers in Chile will be more confident when encountering familiar and trustworthy options to conclude their transactions even in an international merchant’s website. BoaCompra offers solutions for several types of business so that, with only one simple integration, you can sell in the market’s local currency.

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