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Brazil's Bankers Get Digital, Both Online and via Mobile

Estimates indicate mobile banking usage is on par with online banking

July 25, 2014 | Financial Services

Brazil has among the highest digital banking adoption levels in Latin America. Driving factors include relatively high internet penetration—at 53.1% of the country’s more than 200 million people in 2014, eMarketer estimates—and the highest mobile phone internet user penetration in the region. In addition to these factors, Brazil was a relatively early adopter of digital technologies in the financial sector as a means of more efficiently moving money to combat the hyperinflation that plagued the country throughout the 1980s.

Banking Transactions Conducted by Consumers in Brazil, by Access Channel, 2013 (thousands)

Estimates show that about 40% of internet users in Brazil are online bankers. comScore Media Metrix’s March 2013 forecast was the highest, at 43.7%, while Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor data from March 2013 was at 41% and July 2013 IBOPE Media data at 39.3%.

Research from IBOPE Media showed that online banking usage in Brazil increased more than 20% between July 2012 and July 2013. On average, users spent more than 80 minutes interacting with online banking—the highest of the countries surveyed.

Furthermore, 2013 data from Banco Central do Brasil showed that banking transactions were conducted via the internet more than any other method across all applicable categories with the exception of loans and financing. Mobile phones were also used more to access statements and account balances compared with branches and call centers. These findings speak to the prevalence of digital banking among the banked population in Brazil.

By some estimates, mobile banking use is on par with online banking use in Brazil, which is to be expected in a country where mobile phone users outnumber internet users and the mobile internet will be almost as widely used as landline internet by 2018.

A July 2013 survey from telecommunications firm Tecnocom found that 32.4% of mobile internet users in Brazil used mobile banking apps last year, up from 24.6% in 2012, while Ipsos OTX/Ipsos Global @dvisor pegged mobile banking app users at 31% of internet users in June 2013.

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