Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

MercadoLibre Has a Secret Weapon in Mercado Pago

By Taylor Carmichael, Jason Hall, and Danny Vena – Nov 2, 2021 at 6:00AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

South America's king of internet retail is a big fish in the payments space as well.

You might not think of MercadoLibre (MELI 5.12%) as a fintech stock. The internet retailer dominates e-commerce in South America. But its payments solution, Mercado Pago, might be the secret weapon that will propel this stock much, much higher.

In this episode of "The 5," Danny Vena explains why he's excited about Mercado Pago. This segment was recorded live on Oct 11.

10 stocks we like better than MercadoLibre
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and MercadoLibre wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

 

*Stock Advisor returns as of October 20, 2021

 

Jason Hall: Danny, you're going to talk a little bit about a company that led the fintech world when it came to providing digital payment services for people that don't have access to banks.

Danny Vena: This is true. When you first said "fintech," immediately all the regular suspects came to mind. Taylor just mentioned a couple of them, PayPal (PYPL 2.16%), Square (SQ 0.52%), SoFi (SOFI -1.38%), Upstart (UPST -3.91%). But for me, you're talking about the region of Latin America, which has twice the population of the United States. Secondly, it's much less banked or more underbanked than the United States. Essentially, you've got half the population doesn't have a checking account. You've only got about 30 percent of the population with a credit card, according to recent figures, I think it was from World Bank.

The bottom line is, a lot of people, not a lot of financial services being used. MercadoLibre introduced Mercado Pago as a way to get around that when the company introduced its e-commerce back in 1999. Now since then, they modeled Mercado Pago after PayPal. But they gave it a Latin American twist. This is a cash-based society largely. If you have cash in your hand and you want to buy something on e-commerce, you're stuck. But what they did was they made it so that these folks could walk into their local convenience store, they could hand the person at the register some cash, they'd get a receipt, the money goes into their Mercado Pago account, and then they can use that just like they could any other digital wallet.

That's been going on for years and years now. The company is very well entrenched in Latin America. In fact, Mercado Pago became so successful that they then turned around and unleashed it on the rest of retail. Now you can use Mercado Pago just about anywhere that you can use a credit card in Latin America. It's been growing hugely, triple-digit growth, going back at least five or six quarters year over year. There's a lot more growth that can happen. In fact, MercadoLibre's payments business has exceeded its e-commerce business largely because of the success of Mercado Pago.

There are a lot of fintech businesses out there that we're waiting for them to prove themselves. Mercado Pago already has, and it's been driving growth at MercadoLibre for years now. I would say, if you're looking for something that's already proven, I think MercadoLibre is the way to go.

10 stocks we like better than MercadoLibre
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and MercadoLibre wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

 

*Stock Advisor returns as of October 20, 2021

 

Taylor Carmichael owns shares of PayPal Holdings and Square. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends MercadoLibre, PayPal Holdings, SoFi Technologies, Inc., Square, and Upstart Holdings, Inc. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $75 calls on PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.