Latin America's pre-paid general-purpose reloadable mobile and utilities card market could be worth nearly US$160 billion a year by 2015, according to a forecast from vendor NovoPayment.
The region's huge unbanked population can benefit from linking pre-paid reloadable cards to mobile and utility services, offering low and middle-income consumers the ability to buy airtime and pay bills via text messaging, Internet, phone or scheduled debit without an underlying bank account, says NovoPayment.
The firm claims the overwhelming majority of mobile customers in Latin America - between 80% and 90% - are already on pre-paid plans, representing a huge business opportunity for service providers.
"Unbanked consumers spend on average 10 hours per month standing in line to pay bills for services simply because they do not have a traditional bank account or credit history," says Anabel Perez, CEO, NovoPayment. "Prepaid general-purpose cards are a value proposition for mobile and utilities service providers and their customers because they create loyalty, improve margins and connect the region's largest consumer group - which make up the base of the pyramid - to a modern payments and services infrastructure."