Tigo, IDB take banking services to 120,000 unbanked in Paraguay

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Paraguayan mobile telephony operator Tigo and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have provided access to banking services for 120,000 people in 220 towns in Paraguay, local press reported.

Tigo and IDB are developing a program dubbed "Last Mile," the main goal of which is the facilitation of access to financial services for unbanked people.

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In Paraguay, Tigo offers mobile banking services through its Tigo Money division. Tigo Money's manager Rafael Cabral said that there are 2,100 sites in these 220 locations from which users can carry out m-banking operations.

In Paraguay Tigo's financial services had reached a penetration of 28% of its total subscriber base by August 2013, with nearly 1.1mn of Tigo's subscribers having made at least one mobile payment transaction, BNamericas reported previously.

Through Tigo Money, mobile subscribers can top up phone credit, make transfers from mobile to mobile and make payments, among other services.

Tigo is fully owned by Luxembourg-based mobile operator Millicom (Nasdaq: MICC).

Countries throughout Latin America are beginning to enact legislation to allow for m-banking and to increase financial inclusion, Janet Hernández, president of Washington DC-based ICT consultancy TMG, previously told BNamericas.

Consultants at TMG also affirmed that one of the hindrances to the development of m-banking in Latin America was the civil law tradition prevalent across the region, which makes behavior prohibited until it is expressly defined and permitted. This created an inbuilt barrier to innovative m-banking systems.