To discuss trends, challenges, and opportunities within the local financial ecosystem, Mastercard hosted the “Mastercard Day” event in El Salvador on Monday. This event brought together executives and representatives from major financial, technological, and governmental institutions in the country. Among the key takeaways from the event was the recognition that El Salvador is emerging as a leader in financial technology, largely attributed to the approval of laws regulating cryptocurrency usage and new payment methods.
Francisco Milián, the manager of Mastercard for Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize, expressed the company’s enthusiasm for the potential to digitize the national economy. This enthusiasm stems from the significant impetus provided by the Salvadoran government to promote financial technology adoption and incubate companies leveraging such tools to provide services.
“We see significant potential in El Salvador to digitize payments and the economy; we believe the conditions are ripe. El Salvador is a strategic country for us as a global payments company,” Milián pointed out.
“What we observe in El Salvador is an evolution—a willingness among traditional banks to consider fintech as something intriguing, and they are opening doors at a faster pace than we see in Guatemala and Honduras. El Salvador is leading the way in this regard,” he added.
Milián believes that the country is becoming a leader in financial technology due to the enactment of laws regulating the use of cryptocurrencies and new payment methods.
“El Salvador is leading many trends in financial inclusion. We see an evolution in various payment methods,” he emphasized.
For instance, a few months ago, Mastercard launched a debit card in collaboration with the Salvadoran fintech company Ditobanx. This product enables individuals using the wallet developed by the Salvadoran company to transfer their bitcoin funds for payments at any merchant.
“Ditobanx is a very interesting case. The regulator has been promoting this, allowing for the generation of many value propositions in the cryptocurrency environment. There’s an environment that fosters such technologies and solutions. This card enables digitalization for a significant portion of the population; it allows the conversion of cryptocurrencies to dollars, and with those dollars on the card, transactions can be conducted at point-of-sale terminals. It has been one of the standout crypto programs in all of Central America,” Milián noted.
As El Salvador continues to pave the way for financial innovation and inclusion, it appears that the country is well on its way to becoming a regional fintech hub, with Mastercard and other global players keen to participate in its burgeoning ecosystem.