Big Changes for Mobile Banking Underway in Central America
Having the convenience of paying bills online is something most people take for granted. Opening a bank account is after all, one of the rites of passage when most people around the world come of age.
However, the automatic luxury of having a bank account is far from the norm in Central America. According to the World Bank, over 60% of Central Americans remain “unbanked” and as a result, making payments for even the most basic of life’s necessities is extremely challenging.
The World Bank released a report in 2012 that was based on over 150,000 interviews conducted by Gallup Inc. Their Global Findex was a comprehensive and individual-level report that allowed for an in-depth look on how adults in Central America saved and made payments. Some of the data from the report was startling. Here are a few of the findings:
. 39% of adults in the region have a formal bank account, ranging from 14% in Nicaragua and El Salvador to 56% in Brazil
. 10% of all adults reported using a formal account to receive government payments
. 8% of adults reported having originated a loan from a formal financial institution in the past 12 months
. 61% of adults in Latin America remain outside the formal financial system
The Global Findex report cited that two of the biggest obstacles to greater financial inclusion were costs and documentation. Additionally, only 3% of adults across Latin America used mobile phones to pay bills, or send or receive money.
With these stark realities in mind, BAC Credomatic saw an immediate need to confront the challenges to financial inclusion by turning to technology. Company leaders understood that a solution required features that streamlined person to person payments, while simultaneously making greater utilization of existing mobile devices.
Some of the primary challenges to current mobile payment options were that it tied accounts to telephone numbers and assumed both parties had accounts at the bank. With 61% of people not having a formal bank account, the solution needed to offer a way for people to pay one another without the need for one or both to have formal bank accounts.
BAC Credomatic envisioned a solution for inclusive growth that allowed people to use a cell phone to send and receive payments, and partnered with SAP to make that vision a reality. The solution is already underway in Costa Rica with plans to expand to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama in the coming months. Here are a few benefits of the SAP Mobile Platform:
- Implementation of a person to person SMS payment system and digital wallet
- A BAC Credomatic website where users can add funds to their mobile wallet and withdraw funds from ATMs
- The ability to send payments via text message as well as cardless withdrawals. This allows non-banking users access to their funds with only a mobile phone
The deployment of this comprehensive banking solution continues SAP’s determined role in social commitment by continuing to provide the technology that’s driving financial inclusion in Central America as well as around the world.
With these new mobile banking features in place the team at BAC Credomatic was able to integrate the capabilities of software to match what so many people required – an efficient and modern payment environment and subsequent access to a better life.