Paysend helps Northern Central America unbanked

UK-based fintech Paysend is about to launch a new payment service.

It enables unbanked users in Northern Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador) to receive instant remittances from the US to a Paysend virtual Mastercard digital card.

Called Paysend Libre, the virtual card is ready to use in minutes for cash withdrawals and online purchases. It allows the millions of people that rely on funds from family members abroad to access their money safely and simply.  

Set to launch in Guatemala in December 2022, it will expand into the broader Northern Central America region in 2023, where 60% of the adult population is unbanked.

Paysend Libre is powered by Mastercard Send technology. US customers simply use a recipient’s phone number to send them funds. As soon as the funds are sent, the recipient receives a notification with a link to log in via Paysend’s website, or app.

Unbanked recipients and those without a debit card, will be issued a free Paysend virtual Mastercard that can be used to make online purchases or withdraw funds from thousands of Cajero 5B ATMs.

This provides them with a digital financial tool that gives them greater control of their money and enables them to participate in the digital financial system.

“International remittances to Guatemala serve as a safety net for millions of people in the country. Paysend Libre offers a simple, convenient, and safe way to facilitate money transfers to those who need it the most. It also helps us move the needle in expanding financial inclusion for all,” said Jairo Riveros, Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director of North America and LATAM at Paysend.

“We know there’s greater impact when industry players come together to maximise our strengths and our technologies. This programme is a clear example of that and will help give millions across Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador a fast, simple and secure to access – and use – their funds,” added David Goldschmidt, Vice President of Cross Border Payments for Mastercard Latin America and the Caribbean.

Increasing financial inclusion in Guatemala

Guatemala is home to Central America’s largest population and economy, yet it has the region’s lowest human development index, a measurement of life expectancy, health, and education outcomes. Over 50% of the country living below poverty.

As a result, remittances play a critical role in Guatemala, where 18% of Guatemala’s GDP relies solely on the money sent from migrants.

Although migrants leave their home country for new opportunities, they still play critical roles in financially supporting their friends and family back home.

Guatemalans living abroad sent a record $15 billion in remittances in 2021, a 35% increase from 2020.