M-Payment Platform Targets Colombia’s Unbanked Mobile Users (Aug. 20, 2013)
Aug. 20, 2013
A mobile payments network aims to bring financial services to Colombia’s unbanked consumers and move the country’s economy away from cash. The Miami-based network, known as YellowPepper, thus far has signed up 12 Colombian banks for its system, which includes a virtual payment card, P2P and mPOS capability, according to a report by Website Banking Technology.
The new network aims to take advantage of Colombia’s high rate of mobile phone penetration—the nation of 47 million averages more than one mobile phone per citizen—to overcome its high rate of underbanked adults, which stands at 35 percent, according to the Colombian Banking Association. “Our vision of the future is to have all transactions taking place on the mobile phone—that is the future of payments here in Latin America,” YellowPepper CEO Serge Elkiner told Banking Technology. Elkiner said it was far more effective to spread financial inclusion through a mobile-based virtual card rather that distributing plastic cards. The platform’s mPOS functionality meanwhile, will enable small merchants to establish their own loyalty and promotion programs, similar to large retailers, Elkiner said.
YellowPepper plans to expand the platform to Mexico and Ecuador later this year, followed by Guatemala and other Latin American nations. The company has no plans to enter Brazil, according to the report. In May, a joint venture between MasterCard and telecom provider Telefónica announced what it called the Brazil’s first mobile payment service. Known as Zuum, the service initially is rolling out in five cities and is expected to be live nationwide by 2014.