Mexican non-bank lender Sofipo joins CoDi pilot

Bnamericas Published: Friday, May 10, 2019
Mexican non-bank lender Sofipo joins CoDi pilot

A second Mexican microlender, ASP Integra Opciones, is now participating in the central bank’s pilot program for the QR-code-based Cobro Digital (CoDi) electronic payment platform.

ASP Integra Opciones, which operates in Mexico as a Sofipo – a non-banking financial institution that largely targets low-income segments of the population and MSMEs in particular – joins fellow Sofipo Fincomún and five commercial banking institutions with the pilot program, which entered a new phase in May.

The central bank is requiring all banks with more than 3,000 client accounts to integrate the CoDi platform for payments by September 30, 2019.

Regulators, officials and banks alike are hailing CoDi as a potential gamechanger for Mexico to help bring micro enterprises and small businesses that cannot afford POS terminals into the formal financial system.

ASP Integra Options' president, Armando Sánchez, discussed the firm’s participation with local daily El Economista, saying the CoDi system could ultimately prove very useful to its client base and in particular for its network of so-called correspondents (retail outlets) in the northwest of the country.

"Sofipos are concentrated in a very popular market, in peripheral, urban areas, where there is an absence of banking financial services,” said Sánchez. “With this platform, we can grow more, include more informal participants, be able to establish not only the scheme of payments and collections through this system, but complement this platform with other financial services such as credit, savings or insurance.”

Correspondents represent a key distribution channel for ASP Integra Opciones and the expectation is that these can carry out operations with CoDi, which is supported by NFC technology.

"We are starting the pilot test with some of our correspondents, for example corner stores that had no way of receiving electronic payments. They are selling merchandise and are receiving payments through CoDi. We also set up some cafeterias,” said Sánchez,

The pilot test is being carried out in the state of Baja California and once CoDi has a wider release at the start of Q4, the functionality will be available at 300 correspondents in several states and then rise to 1,000 by the end of the year, he said.

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