SmartVoucher Ltd. last week added a fourth country to its list of South American countries where consumers may use its Ukash vouchers to shop online.

In the latest initiative, the United Kingdom-based company’s e-commerce payment method is available at More Money funds-transfer outlets across Argentina through a partnership with payment processor Raberil Trading. The expansion via 100 More Money outlets follows a Ukash test run in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires.

Argentina joins Colombia, Uruguay and Brazil among the South American countries whose citizens can use Ukash. Paul Coxhill, Ukash marketing director, tells PaymentsSource that Ukash has set a goal of adding more South American countries this year.

Users who either are unbanked or banked and concerned about sharing their financial information on the Internet may give a Ukash partner cash in exchange for a voucher that has a 19-digit code. They can send the code by phone, put it on a card or print it on a piece of paper.

The user enters the code in a window at checkout after choosing the Ukash payment option when buying from one of approximately 5,000 online merchants that support Ukash. The code disappears once used, and if there is a balance remaining, the system develops a new code for the remainder. Participating merchants specialize in gaming, communications, e-wallets, prepaid cards, poker and sports betting, Coxhill says.

In a release announcing the expansion in Argentina, Ukash CEO David Hunter said Ukash fits well with that country. Citing Ukash research, Hunter says 60% of Argentineans access the Internet regularly, while bank account penetration is low: consumers use cash in 42% of their purchases compared with 4.6% using a card.

Zilvinas Bareisis, a senior analyst with UK-based financial technology consultant Celent, tells PaymentsSource that Argentina and other Latin American countries find a Ukash-type business attractive.

“While the banked population and card numbers are growing rapidly, there is still a need for efficient payment instruments online,” he says. “Obviously, a key challenge for a business such as this is to establish a cash-in network of agents, where actual cash can be exchanged for a voucher number.”

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