Mobile and Secure Payments for Emerging Markets. Cacao is trying to make mobile payments easier to access by letting users send and receive money using only their credit cards and smartphones.


The Challenge

In Uruguay, many small businesses and freelancers can’t support credit card payments; maintaining a POS terminal, the system used to process card transactions, is neither cheap nor portable. Mobile payments solve the problem, allowing businesses and freelancers to receive credit transactions using only a phone. The challenge, however, is encouraging the adoption of the technology. Most retail customers aren’t used to paying for goods, services, and products with their mobile device.


The Approach

We ran a design sprint to make sure the problem statement was clear and that the entire team was aligned in terms of goals, risks, assumptions, and expectations. 

We started thinking about the use cases with traditional retailers, trying to replicate the purchase experience but replacing cash with Cacao. We quickly learned that this model was limiting us and that there were other interesting use cases that could benefit with a more flexible approach.

Early user-flows and design exploration

Instead of trying to solve the problem of “paying invoices and bills” (which require the seller to create digital versions of that paperwork in the first place) we reframed the solution in terms of “transferring money.”

With this new framing of the solution, we jumped into design, crafting a few design options to test with users. After testing them, we landed at a flow that felt natural, but also flexible enough to function in very different scenarios.

New approach to UX and updated branding/UI.


I joined Cacao very early on in the development process. Worked with the rest of the stakeholders, I not only in polishing the branding, UX, and UI, but also validated and redefined the go-to-market strategy.


“Delivering a quality product is hard, it takes exceptional attention to detail and exhaustive, careful thinking. Santiago applies his top-level design talent to every conceivable aspect of a project, he provides both the hard questions as well as excellent, well-researched answers alongside beautiful, understandable design assets. He is the kind of person you want in any kind of project you’re undertaking, Cacao certainly wouldn’t exist without him."

Pablo Astigarraga — Co-Founder at Cacao