MasterCard and Telefonica team up for major Latin America mobile payments project

The payments network and multi-national mobile network operator are to form a joint venture which will develop mobile financial solutions in the twelve countries in Latin America covered by Telefónica’s Movistar brand.

JOINT VENTURE: Bringing mobile finance to Movistar customers in 12 nations

MasterCard and Telefónica have announced the creation of a joint venture that aims to lead the development of mobile financial solutions in twelve Latin American countries served by Telefónica’s Movistar brand.

The new company will be owned 50:50 by the payments network and the telecoms operator, will be managed independently and plans to “leverage banking relationships of both companies, Telefónica’s telecommunications assets and MasterCard’s payments expertise”.

“The joint venture will have an open model to ensure interoperability among the banked and unbanked segments, and serve as a bridge between the financial and telecommunications sectors,” say the two companies. “It will seek to provide 87 million current and potential Movistar customers with mobile payment services that will be linked to a mobile wallet or prepaid account including money transfers, mobile airtime reload, bill payment and retail purchases, among others. In addition, some of these services such as receiving remittances may also benefit 200 million Movistar and non-Movistar mobile subscribers in the 12 Latin America markets included in the joint venture.”

“This initiative is a step toward achieving financial inclusion for the under-served in Latin America — positively impacting its economic development,” the partners continue. “Aside from offering convenience and security, the range of mobile financial solutions to be offered will be the most complete to date and widely accessible to all, regardless of their access to banking services. Through this initiative, it is expected that acceptance of electronic payments will be expanded to enable what are today predominantly cash-based merchant locations and micro-businesses such as taxis, street vendors, among others, to accept mobile payments.”

“This initiative puts us at the forefront of mobile payments in the region and arms us with the right artillery to strengthen our war on cash,” says Richard Hartzell, president of MasterCard’s Latin America and Caribbean region.

“By offering mobile financial solutions, we are fully responding to the demands of the population in Latin America that trusts in their mobile phone to conduct financial operations,” explains Joaquin Mata, Telefónica’s global head of financial services. “This joint venture places Telefónica in a solid position to lead the development of mobile financial solutions in Latin America.”

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