MercadoLibre in talks with WhatsApp

The chief financial officer of Latin American e-commerce retailer and fintech business MercadoLibre said to Reuters on Wednesday that the company is in talks with Meta to begin processing payments for its WhatsApp messaging service in Brazil.

Last month, Facebook owner Meta said that it would introduce a payments feature in the biggest economy in Latin America, enabling WhatsApp users to talk and make purchases from a business straight in the chat.

“We are in the test phase as one of the partners that processes payments in Brazil,” Pedro Arnt said in an interview.

Users of WhatsApp in Brazil would be able to locate a business’s account via a directory service and conduct in-app purchases using credit or debit cards.

“This could be an opportunity for us to leverage WhatsApp efficiently to generate more sales and better customer contacts,” Arnt added.

He didn’t mention how far along the test phase is or what kind of revenue the company’s finance arm, Mercado Pago, could be able to generate.

However, along with India and Indonesia, Brazil is one of WhatsApp’s key markets.

A number of businesses, “many of which” were also taking part in production testing, were listed by WhatsApp as having the required technological integration last month, including Mercado Pago.

88 million unique active users across 18 countries helped MercadoLibre earn a better-than-anticipated profit for the third quarter on record net revenue of $2.7 billion last month.

“We have a very strong relationship with our consumers because we can solve both their financial needs and their commerce needs. That puts us in a very strong position,” Arnt said.

The company, according to the CFO, would cling onto its cryptocurrency despite the market crash that followed the collapse of the FTX exchange, enabling it to continue to provide Mercado Pago users in some countries with the option to buy, store, and sell cryptocurrency inside of digital wallets.

According to Arnt, the company’s $30 million investment in cryptocurrencies during the second and fourth quarters of 2021 is now worth $11 million.

“The market timing was wrong but it had a lot to do with learning about crypto storage, purchasing and selling,” he said. “No more purchases and we are not selling either, we are still holders of those assets.”

Arnt said that the fleet of the company currently includes more than 1,000 electric cars as it increased same-day and next-day shipments. The company is expanding its regional logistics network through Mercado Envios.

In order to collaborate on vehicle design standards, the largest tech company in Latin America by market capitalization is now in discussions with startups like the American-based Xos Trucks.

“We see this happening in 2024,” he added.

After the Ads division attained 1.3% penetration over gross merchandise volume, MercadoLibre intends to keep making investments in technology to give retail marketers additional knowledge of consumer behavior. “This business should be able to grow multiple times over the next few years,” Arnt said.

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