Mexican bank Banorte has teamed with payments specialist Rev Worldwide to launch a mobile-based financial services programme aimed at the country's millions of underbanked.
The MiFon programme - which customers do not need to visit a branch to join - combines a deposit account with the bank linked to a MasterCard debit card, which can be used at merchants and ATMs worldwide.
In addition, the bank is providing SMS-based mobile services, enabling Mexicans to send money from one account to another one using their handset. Gradually, a variety of new services will be introduced, including mobile top-ups.
The first stage of the launch, jointly with Telecomm Telegrafos, will start this month in the state of Oaxaca, and will be rolled out nationally during the first quarter of 2012.
Hector Abrego, SVP, alternate channels, Grupo Financiero Banorte, says: "MiFon will become Banorte's key program to increase the penetration of banking services in our country. It will allow a large segment of Mexicans who still do not have access to financial services to get close to a bank for the very first time."