Making financial transactions with mobile devices is not considered new in Brazil. However, the service is far from being heavily used. During this week’s Ciab (check all stories) —a conference and exposition focused on IT for financial institutions held in São Paulo—banks and vendors are trying to show how the connected society (also a central theme of the event) is changing the way banks do business.
Brazilian Bank Federation (Febraban) predicts that mobile banking will be the new boom market. According to Febraban, in 2011 mobile banking grew 50% compared to 2010, and last December, approximately three million accounts were accessed via mobile devices.
For example, Febraban noted that in early 2012, the two biggest private financial institutions in Brazil—Itaú and Bradesco— achieved large mobile banking numbers. According to Febraban, Bradesco recorded a monthly average of 15 million transactions made by smartphones, about 1.2 million downloaded applications and more than 700,000 active users.
Febraban also noted that Itaú recently surpassed 2.4 million downloads for their mobile banking applications.
State-owned Caixa Econômica Federal also counted mobile banking as among its greatest growth channels. According to Febraban, mobile banking grew 2,088% from 2007 to 2011.
In Brazil, mobile banking accounts grew by 49% to reach 3.3 million from 2010 to 2011. Smartphone sales hit 9 million in 2011. According to the Febraban survey released in April, the number of both mobile banking users and Internet banking users will continue to grow.
The survey predicts the two platforms will become so integrated by 2018 that it will be difficult to identify Internet users from mobile users. Today, Internet banking is generally accessed via a web browser and mobile banking through an application. In the future, these two categories will become mixed, especially due to the proliferation of tablets, and Internet/mobile banking will become more popular than using ATMs or agencies.