PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

Panama 2017 | FINANCE | B2B

Innovative payment solutions are catching on quickly in Panama, and companies are successfully reaching more and more of the population.

Andrey Gorsky
ANDREY GORSKY
Director General
Punto Pago
Giovanna Cardellicchio
GIOVANNA CARDELLICCHIO
General Manager
APC Intelidat

What is the history of your company in Panama?

ANDREY GORSKY Punto Pago is not a national company; it is an international company with a presence in a number of countries worldwide. We started operating in Panama eight years ago. Initially, it was hard to penetrate the market; however, our products and services started to be well received by the local population. Our technology simplifies people's lives and brings many benefits. Every year we introduce new services and new products, which means every year our client base expands and grows. After eight years of successful operations, we have reached over 1 million regular users of our services. The first thing that we have executed is to introduce the possibility of making payments at our kiosks. We then introduced the possibility of paying via our app. Our next step is to help facilitate the activities of banks and we want to make it possible to make deposits at our terminals. They will basically resemble ATMs, and we are currently discussing and negotiating the activation of this new service with leading banks in the country. We seek to expand our services not only in the capital, but also in other regions across the entire country.

Giovanna Cardellicchio The company was founded in 1957 and this year is our 60th anniversary. We are a credit bureau and our history is a little different from credit bureaus in other countries; in other countries, a credit bureau starts with banks trying to share information or exchange information about their customers. In Panama, we started working for people in the retail industry, especially for furniture companies, who started sharing information and built up a basic database. At first, it was more of a blacklist rather than the positive and negative information we have today. That was how APC began, as a non-profit association. It evolved until 2012, when it became a private company with shareholders and in 2015 we went public on the Panama Stock Exchange. This year we re-branded APC with the concept of “Intelidat,” which we believe widens the scope of what we do in terms of being a platform for data exchange and business intelligence solutions. We have a great deal of information in Panama, but we are also regulated by Law 24 of 2002. We collect information on payments, installments, the starting and end dates of loans, the number of payments a customer has made, the amount of the payments, and so on. We have approximately 7 million references in the system and the population of Panama is 3.5 million; therefore, almost every person who is economically active is in the system. We have around 1,000 customers who exchange information through our database.

What are your main targets and priorities for this year?

AG We definitely want to implement and expand our service and our collaboration with leading banks; we are already working with Banistmo, the second-largest bank in the country. We will continue to work with new banks and financial institutions and sign contracts with them. Our commercial relations with Banistmo are extremely important; it is a priority as it is one of the leading banks in Panama and we have a great relationship. We would like to replicate this model in Colombia as well. In 2017, we do not want to stop growing; growth is the key word for this year and the future looks bright. We are taking into consideration the entire region and the countries in which it is more convenient to start operating. Mexico and Peru are on our radar.

GC One is to choose our strategic partner, which we are in the process of. We are evaluating several candidates to determine the best fit for APC and for the Panamanian market. The second is to work on adding what we call “alternative data” into the system; in order to have other products that are not credit-oriented we need information that is not merely related to credit. We are trying to get, for example, government information from different branches of the government, public services, and demographic data. We also want to continue with compliance solutions. We are currently working on a due diligence workflow that will be available online. Many companies do not know all the information they need to request and keep related to their customers. If we can automate the process, they would be able to fill up formats already proven to comply with the regulations. I believe this will be a success. We are also working with the World Bank and the International Development Bank (IDB) on important initiatives such as financial inclusion and data protection regulations.