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May 2021

The State of Financial Health Startups in Latin America

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The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Latin America’s economy to the brink. And those who have been hit the hardest are small business owners and people from low-income communities.

When we talk about a person’s financial health, we mean their ability to manage their income, get a loan when they need it, and plan for their financial future. Broadly, these metrics have all improved in Latin America over the past decade. But the pandemic has set those numbers back – especially for marginalized populations who lack access to key financial services.

• Individuals have been pushed to borrow emergency money from predatory lenders who charge high interest rates
• Small business owners have been hurt more than larger competitors, but have had less success in getting bank loans to bail them out
• Informal workers have seen their cash flow become even more irregular

Fortunately, entrepreneurs are working on new business models to address this lack of access to financial services and ensure that advances in financial health are shared by all. In this report we will highlight startups building solutions around financial health. We’ll look at startups that:

• Offer alternative lending services targeted at the lowest-income populations
• Help SMBs owners manage their finances and access loans
• Provide benefits for informal workers