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Ecuador

No Open Banking

A draft law for a Fintech bill has been passed for this South American country.

According to Kepios, 81% of Ecuadorians had access to the Internet in 2023.

There is no regulatory framework around Open Banking yet in Ecuador; however, a draft law for a Fintech Bill was passed by Congress in October 2022. The project includes 12 new articles and numerous modifications to financial laws to include and regulate technological services in connection with electronic payment services, technological and financial services, sandboxes, securities market, cryptocurrencies and insurance.

According to The Global Findex Database, 64% of Ecuadorian adults had bank accounts in 2021, leaving 36% unbanked. The Ecuadorian population is very dependent on cash. According to the Central Bank of Ecuador, cash represents 29% of the country’s economic liquidity. Electronic payments have increased during the pandemic, and by September 2020, electronic transfers increased by 49%. Credit cards are also a popular method of payment, but the number of transactions has not yet reached 2019 levels since the pandemic. However, the use of debit cards increased by 32% by September 2020.

In 2018, the Central Bank of Ecuador stated that cryptocurrencies are not an authorised payment method. As cryptocurrencies are not backed by any authority, the value is based on speculation. Financial transactions are not controlled, supervised, or regulated by any entity in the country, and this presents a financial risk to those who use them.

Despite this warning, the central bank has said that ‚Äúthe purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies ‚ÄĒ such as bitcoin ‚ÄĒ through the internet is not prohibited.‚ÄĚ The Central Bank of Ecuador is planning to issue regulations bringing clarity and contributing to the prevention of financial crimes such as money laundering later in 2022.

Ecuador was the first in the world to introduce a Central Bank digital currency (CBDC). Dinero Electrónico was a mobile payment system developed by the Banco Central del Ecuador that allowed citizens to transfer USD balances in real-time from person to person using basic cell phones. The program operated between 2014 and 2018. Key drivers of the program were increasing financial inclusion and reducing the need for the central bank to hold and distribute large quantities of USD notes. Ultimately, however, the scale of the deployment was not large enough, and the initiative never reached its full potential.

There were 63 Fintech startups in Ecuador in 2022. Ecuador has a dollarised economy, which facilitates operations and eliminates exchange risks for new Fintech.

Most Fintech operates in financial management, technologies for financial institutions, and payments and remittances.

Ecuador’s immigration policies¬†are open in general to receiving new talent that contributes to the development of different industries, Fintech included.¬†

Ecuador ranked 93rd out of 134 countries in¬†Wiley’s Digital Skills Global Index 2021.

Tools 

There are no tools as of yet; however, Ecuador is in the process of considering the project for a Fintech Bill, which includes:

  • Electronic payment services
  • Technological and financial services
  • Sandboxes
  • Securities market
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Insurance