World Bank development investment offshoot IFC has invested $7 million in SafetyPay, a US-based company that enables consumers to pay for goods and services over the Web direct from their own bank account.
Headquartered in Florida, SafetyPay was launched in Peru in 2007 and is active in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Colombia. The company currently has partnerships with 84 banks in Latin America, and with many of the region's leading firms, including Groupon, Peruvian Airlines, Volaris Airlines, and Despegar.
"In many developing countries people do not have access to credit cards and have-until recently-not been able to make online purchases," says SafetyPay CEO Manuel Montero. "With the financial support of investors such as IFC, we are continuing our aggressive growth strategy to partner with banks and companies to give more consumers in Latin America access to our services."
Latin America has a fast growing e-commerce market. Total online retail sales in the region grew from $8 billion in 2006 to $43 billion in 2011, with an average annual growth rate of 41%.
In May, IFC invested $10 million in account-to-account cross-border payments service provider Earthport, to help boost the UK firm's activities in the developing world.