(Adds comments by Mercado Pago executive, company and industry background)
By Gabriela Mello and Aluisio Alves
SAO PAULO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Argentinian fintech Mercado Pago, a unit of e-commerce company MercadoLibre, is launching new services to users of its app-based wallet, including credit lines and cash withdrawal options, as part of efforts to gain scale as market competition continues to intensify.
With more than 220 million users across seven countries in Latin America, Mercado Pago is expanding credit operations to reach customers beyond MercadoLibre’s e-commerce platform, its vice-president, Tulio Oliveira, said on Friday.
“Our customer today has a more credit-taking profile and this is why we have been focusing more on credit solutions than investment ones in our digital wallet,” he told journalists.
As of September last year, Mercado Pago had granted 1.4 billion reais ($334.72 million) in credit to sellers and 351 million reais to consumers, it said in a presentation.
The fintech also aims soon to allow cash withdrawals using QR code, according to Oliveira. Another goal is to launch its own credit and debit card acquiring business in 2020, he added.
“We will gradually stop using services provided by other credit card acquiring firms as we fully operate our own,” he said.
In the third quarter, Mercado Pago hit $7.6 billion in transactions, of which $4 billion was outside of MercadoLibre’s e-commerce platform, a record for the period.
Mercado Pago’s director of payments, Gabriela Szprinc, warned the company is committed to surpassing rival PagSeguro Digital Ltd in number of card processing machines in 2020. It had 3.3 million card processing machines in operation in September, while PagSeguro had 5 million in the same period.
PagSeguro did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ($1 = 4.1826 reais) (Reporting by Gabriela Mello and Aluisio Alves Editing by Matthew Lewis)