With a vision of innovation through new digital mechanisms that expand payments coverage within Ecuador, RTC COONECTA—a successful credit-union owned shared payments platform—has established an alliance with Visa International to connect with the largest global payments network at a time it has never been more needed to ensure public safety.
Formed in 2007 through a World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) project funded by USAID, COONECTA is the foundational organization for extending digital financial inclusion to the remaining 49% of unbanked people in Ecuador.
Support of COONECTA continues to this day. With WOCCU providing facilities for the operation of a clearing account in the United States, the alliance with Visa International will allow members of financial institutions affiliated with the COONECTA Network to access to more than 46 million points of service (POS) and 2.6 million ATMs, as well as all the benefits of access to the world's largest payments ecosystem.
The channeling of transactions through electronic payments for more than 2.2 million account holders at 70 financial institutions affiliated with the COONECTA Network contributes significantly to the growth of financial inclusion in Ecuador. It is also a mechanism for reducing visits to physical branch locations and, consequently, avoiding the crowds that can be a risk for both credit union employees and members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ecuador has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection and death in the western hemisphere. As of June 15, more than 47,000 people had been infected in the country, with over 3,900 dying from of the virus.
Since the first day of Ecuador's quarantine, and throughout the health emergency, COONECTA has not stopped its activities. The network has demonstrated its strength and capacity for action by maintaining the proper functioning of its ATMs, DeUna debit cards, BICOO mobile wallet and Points Coonecta.
Thanks to WOCCU’s support and RTC’s technical and operational capacity, the new service will take shape over the coming months to continue that trend, allowing people in marginalized rural and urban areas of the country to access safe and agile essential services as long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.