Of the total of these active cards in 2021, 73 percent were concentrated in Banorte, HSBC, Scotiabank, Santander, BBVA and Citibanamex.
Specialists consider that the increase in the number of plastics was driven by people who acquired financing to face the debts caused by the pandemic, as well as by those who used these means of payment as a “shield” to their income.
“People also acquired a card to contract entertainment services and make the pandemic more enjoyable, although in the worst case it was to pay for health expenses,” said Julián Fernández, an analyst at Grupo Bursamérica.
Between 2020 and 2021, the expert explained, the banks changed their commercial and credit strategy to offer financing to people with greater economic solvency. This, on the one hand, was intended to avoid default risks, but at the same time to cover new customer segments.
The Survey on general conditions and standards in the bank credit market, corresponding to the first quarter of 2020 and prepared by the Bank of Mexico (Banxico), indicates that the banks with the greatest participation in the financial system reported tighter conditions to grant credit cards or mortgage, automotive or personal financing, among other items.
As the months went by, the clauses were less strict and at the end of 2021, only the measures to grant some loans, such as automotive loans, as well as to non-financial small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), were tightened.
“This was key for other financial institutions or fintechs themselves to be successful during the pandemic. Traditionally it is known that they ‘adopt’ clients that banks reject due to their income levels or risk of delinquency,” said Fernández.
Banxico’s studies also indicate that commercial banks anticipate that the demand for credit cards will continue to increase at least during the first three months of the current year.
“In 2021 the number of credit cards increased because formal employment recovered. For this trend to continue, the economy must perform well this year,” said Jorge Tello, director of the applied research program at the Foundation for Financial Studies (Fundef).
According to the CNBV, of the six most important banks in the country, BBVA Mexico reported the greatest increase in the number of credit cards in the last year, with 891,762 more plastics.
This institution was followed by Santander, with 219 thousand 547 new cards and Banorte, with 79 thousand 471 new cards.