Mexican Vendors Bypass Banks With Mobile Applications

03/12/15 Bloomberg 

shutterstock_77317735In Mexico City, known for its sprawling street markets, consumers are shunning cash and opting for credit cards they swipe on merchants’ smartphones to pay for everything from shoes to tacos. “People will always ask, ‘do you take cards?’, and if you do, they’ll go ‘I want this, I want that,’” said Jorge Preciado, who promotes and recruits vendors to sell their wares in markets across Mexico, such as Bazar Condesa. “Cash will always circulate, but paying with a card is going to become the norm,” he said in a phone interview. About 29 million people, or more than half of Mexico’s workforce, operate in a gray economy that’s neither taxed or regulated.

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253,000 U.S. guns smuggled to Mexico annually, study finds

Guns by Flickr user barjackMcClatchy, 3/18/2013

Some 2.2 percent of all U.S. gun sales are made to smuggling rings that take firearms to Mexico, a scale of illegal trafficking that’s “much higher than widely assumed,” an academic study released Monday found. An average of 253,000 weapons purchased in the United States head south of the border each year, according to the study by four scholars at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and the Igarape Institute, a research center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Profit margins at many gun stores are razor thin, and thousands of U.S. gun vendors would go out of business without the illicit traffic to Mexico, said Topher McDougal, an economist educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who’s one of the study’s authors. The study’s conclusions are likely to add to controversy over what role U.S. weapons smugglers play in Mexico’s drug violence. Mexican officials have long blamed lax gun laws in the United States for the availability of weapons in Mexico, which has only one gun store and considers gun ownership a privilege, not a right.

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