LatAm List – Tencent and SoftBank-backed fintech startup Ualá is experiencing explosive growth while Argentina is on coronavirus lockdown. Living in a largely cash-based economy, Argentines are unable to go out, withdraw cash, and pay bills at their usual payment points as before.
Ualá’s mobile app and online payment system offer an attractive alternative to the Argentine population, which is reflected in a 300% increase in transactions during the past month.
“What we expected to happen over years is now happening over weeks,” said Pierpaolo Barbieri, Founder of Ualá. “Since the beginning of the quarantine 35 days ago, we have issued almost 140,000 cards, which is double our regular monthly issuance.”
The fintech’s employees started working from home 10 days before the quarantine was officially declared, and has not stopped growing. Since the lockdown started, Ualá has hired 50 new employees bringing its workforce to over 300.
Founded in 2017, Ualá has issued more than 1.9M debit cards as part of its mission to convert Argentina’s population into users of digital payment systems. Barbieri would not comment on international expansion plans but according to the Financial Times Ualá is said to be eyeing other underbanked countries in Latin America, such as Colombia, Peru, or Mexico.
Read more on the Financial Times.