Latin America and the Caribbean
The expansion of consumer credits has been one of the most wide-ranging transformations in the last 20 years in Chile. One can argue that Chile has gone through its own process of ‘financialization’ and that this has taken a very specific and domestic character. Of course, this is not the only country where consumer credits, and particularly, credit cards, have seen a significant growth. However, recent trends in the Chilean case show an important particularity: the access to consumer credits has neither been driven by banks nor by other traditional financial institutions but mainly by retailers such as supermarkets and department stores. In today’s Chile, retail credit cards are not merely used to purchase goods in the issuers’ stores, but also increasingly as revolving credits cards that are usable in an expanding network of places (including airline tickets, private hospitals, pharmacies, and, certainly, other stores). In a developing country where a large proportion of the population has not traditionally been considered by banks as potential customers, chain retailers are becoming the main access to finance.
The expansion of consumer credits in Chile has recently been the focus of many of the main discussions in social research in Chile. However, little attention has been paid by academic research to credit practices itself. A central issue that has not been studied yet is the consequences of the expansion of retail credit cards to areas of the population and city previously excluded from formal finance services. This research aims at starting to fill this gap.
José Ossandón Valdes, Tomás Ariztía, Macarena Barros, Filipe Gonzalez
About the Researcher(s)
Synopsis of Research Results
1. Link to José Ossandón, Tomás Ariztía, Macarena Barros, and Camila Peralta's "The Financial Ecologies and Circuits of Commerce of Retail Credit Cards in Santiago de Chile".
2. Link to José Ossandón's working paper “My Story Has No Strings Attached”: Credit Cards, Market Devices, and a Stone Guest.