[wsj] MasterCard Inc. (MA) and Telefonica SA (TEF) unveiled a venture that would allow the Spanish telecommunications giant's mobile subscribers in 12 Latin American countries to use their cellphones for financial services such as person-to-person money transfers and bill payment.
The venture is seeking to tap potential customers who, for reasons such as having low income or living in remote areas, have little or no access to traditional banking systems. Latin America has been a bright spot for Telefonica, offsetting weakness at its Spanish operations. MasterCard, meanwhile, has seen payments grow faster outside the U.S. than in it.
The deal, available to Telefonica's Movistar-brand mobile subscribers in Latin America, will also feature services such as mobile airtime reload and retail purchases. The companies said it will "provide a better alternative to paying with cash for both consumers and merchants."
MasterCard's Class A shares closed Monday at $239, while Telefonica's American depositary shares finished at $25.28. Netiher was active in recent premarket trading.
MasterCard, Telefonica In Latin American Mobile-Finance Venture