Mobile banking is consolidated as a strategic option among Latin American banks

Mobile or cell phone banking has become a must-have for the client relationship strategy for 2 out of 3 financial entities in Latin America, according to the third study of “Mobile Banking in Latin America”, performed by Latinia among the 100 main entities of the continent.

The progress made is even more significant in that it is 20% more than the previous analysis performed in 2009, and if we go back to the first study performed in 2008, the progress numbers are outstanding, given that at that time mobile banking penetration was only a little more than one out of three entities (38%). As such, in a time span of less than 3 years, between the first and the third study made, we can see a growth of up to 74% in the penetration of mobile financial services (MFS) in the Latin American region.

Analyzing the different segments among these 100 entities, we can notice that this progress takes place exclusively among the entities which are located between the rankings of 25 to 75, given that among the first 25 the percentage of banks with mobile financial services continues unchanged regarding the previous report (84%). The intermediate entities, large but traditionally not early adopters, are the ones that today are pushing mobile technology. The total progress of 11% regarding the previous study (55 to 66%) is exclusively led by medium segments, neither by the main entities nor by those of smaller size. Technology flows in a logical manner according to the standard adoption curves. Growth is achieved in a reasonable, academic manner and sustainable in time.

Regarding the technologies utilized, and very similar to previous studies, a clear lead can be observed on the part of messaging (SMS Banking), present in 71% of the “mobilized” banks, which is reasonable taking into account that it is related to the most universal of the mobile technologies and is supported by 100% of the terminals. As a second option in penetration (not excluding the first), we can find the navigation or Internet related technology far ahead, although a little less than one out of every three entities with MFS. The remaining technologies, whether micro applications (rich UX) or via SIM card, would end up far from these figures.

Regarding the combination of different technologies, all the options are growing, in absolute or percentage terms. 71% have a single technology available in their offering (decreasing from 78%, although growing in absolute terms), 21% have up to two mobile technologies available, and 8% have up to 3 available. These last two blocks absorb therefore the decrease of the first group, denoting more options and technological maturity by combining more technologies. Thus, a very natural growth takes place; new entities “enter” into the MFS offer with a first and single technology, while others invest in more than one mobile technology. In case of a single technology, this is in 64% of the SMS messaging cases; in case of two, “the winning dance couple” is the option of SMS + navigation portal, up to 86% of the cases. As we have seen, only 8% of the banks have three technologies in their offering, all of them coinciding with the model of SMS + WAP + Java applications.

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