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Mobile banking usage in Latin America is expected to see 65% annual growth until 2015, according to a report from Pyramid Research.
The consultancy estimates that around 18mn mobile banking users are currently in the region and said this figure could grow to more than 140mn by 2015.
According to Pyramid, Latin America has achieved the right conditions to increase the uptake of mobile financial services such as banking and payments.
While banking penetration is low in the region, the consultancy said that by 2015 85% of the total population will be an active user of a mobile device. This lends to the devices' becoming entry points for adjacent services, including payments, banking and remittances.
"Technological advances are making the fulfillment of the promise of a broad mobile banking and payment service a real possibility," said Pyramid senior analyst José Magana.
Additionally, Magana highlighted that in all the larger Latin American markets, 35% of the population is younger than 24, which he said makes now an appropriate time for operators to focus on mobile banking services.
Pyramid expects mobile operators, like regional heavyweights Claro and Movistar, to develop commercial offerings in the next few months to make their mark on a growing market where operators will have an upper hand.
Magana said mobile operators can see benefits from mobile banking such as airtime purchases, more billable network traffic like data and SMS, and an increase in customer loyalty, resulting in an improved churn rate.
According to the analyst, operators can make the system faster by providing back-end services through their network, handling large amounts of data smoothly and bringing payment-friendly handsets to their network by partnering with payment vendors.