Ethan Arpi

Mobile Banking Hits Colombia

mobile bankingIn an article published in last week’s La Republica, the Colombian equivalent of the Wall Street Journal, Jorge Barrios reports that Bancolombia, Colombia’s largest bank, is poised to launch a mobile banking service, which will allow the bank’s clients to make payments, money transfers, and information requests on their cellular phone.? The service, known as Banco Movil, will be made possible by Comcel and Ola, two cellular phone service providers that have partnered with the bank. ?

Jorge Londo?o Saldarriaga, the president of Bancolombia, told La Republica that the bank’s new service aims to meet the financial needs of Colombia’s citizens that do not have access to more formal banking infrastructure: ?The bank will arrive in areas where we don?t have offices or ATMs, but we will take advantage of cellular phone technology which covers all the territory.? ?Bancolombia is hardly the first to dabble in the world of mobile banking.? Wizzit in South Africa, GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, Exchange Wallet in the United Arab Emirates, ABN AMRO in India, and Smart in the Philippines are just a handful of players who are already active in the field.? To date, their efforts have been wildly successful and their business models have been replicated throughout the world.