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For the first time ever, more than half of all banking transactions processed in Brazil over the period of a year were done so via digital channels, said federal banking association Febraban.
According to Febraban's 2014 banking technology study, internet and mobile accounted for around 52% of all 46bn in financial and non-financial (such as balance enquiries) banking operations carried out in Brazil that year. In 2013, the two channels' combined rate was 47%.
When taken individually, internet banking represented 41% of all operations last year, for 2010-14 compound growth of 17%, while m-banking accounted for 12%, a 209% increase over the same period.
Some 47% (or 51mn) of active accounts were the subject of an internet banking service in 2014, and 24% of transactions were carried out via tablets or smartphones.
As to the other channels, ATMs represented 21% of all banking transactions performed last year, followed by points-of-sale (13%), bank branches (8%) and contact centers (3%), among others.
"There is much more room for growth for the online and mobile channels, especially the latter one, as banks improve their apps, offering more and more services and facilities, and users become more used to it," Gustavo Fosse, director of banking technology at Febraban and IT manager at Banco do Brasil, told reporters during the presentation of the study.
Nonetheless, physical channels and POS still account for the vast majority of operations involving money, such as paying bills or wiring money, while digital devices are mostly used to make enquiries.
Only 20% of all financial transactions last year were processed online or via mobile devices, whereas just 18% and 4%, respectively, of the online and mobile operations involved money.
In the study, Febraban reported a decrease in the number of ATMs in use in Brazil to 159,000 from 166,000 in 2013, although the number of transactions performed increased 4%.
According to Fosse, this is related to a "consolidation" pushed through by the banks in this segment. On the one hand, ATMs that performed a single task are being replaced by multi-service ones, while machines serving just one bank are being replaced by multi-bank units.
In 2014, ATMs equipped with biometrics reached 60% of total, compared to 47% in 2013.
ATMs that employ devices such as finger vein-pattern and palm scanners are also on the rise, the executive said, although Febraban does not provide figures for the individual technologies.