Telefonica has set up a mobile banking joint venture with MasterCard targeting consumers in Latin America, in what it claims is the first venture of its kind between a telco and finance company.
The 50:50 joint venture will provide financial services including money transfers, mobile airtime top ups, bill payment and retail purchases to the Spanish incumbent’s 87 million Movistar subscribers in 12 Latin American countries.
Telefonica hopes the independent firm will bridge the gap between financial and telecoms sectors for banked and un-banked consumers, by linking them to mobile wallet services.
Latin America is ripe for mobile banking services, with use of traditional banking services lagging behind developed markets, WSJ.com notes
The telco estimates the remittance services could ultimately reach a total of 200 million consumers in the region.