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The potential of mobile banking in Peru as a mechanism for financial inclusion


  • Carlos Lopez-Moctezuma
  • Santiago Fernandez de Lis
  • Javier Alonso
  • Rosario Sanchez
  • David Tuesta


The Peruvian economy in recent decades has grown in step with growth in the financial system. However, banking penetration as a proportion of GDP has remained static at around 30% which is below other countries in the region, even those with lower GDP per capita. Access to products in the formal financial system is especially difficult for rural or low-income households. In line with the interesting international experience in other emerging countries, the E-Money Act was passed in 2012 with the main aim of increasing levels of financial inclusion. The high level of penetration of mobile technology in the country makes it an attractive channel for expanding financial services, since it is accessible and used every day by most of the population: according to the ENAHO 2011 National Household Survey, 75% of households have a cell phone (24 million lines in a country of 30 million inhabitants). This paper aims to set out the current state of development of mobile banking and estimate the potential demand for mobile banking as well as e-money. To achieve this aim, we use survey information to discover the main socioeconomic characteristics of individuals as well as the determining factors for their preferences regarding the use and frequency of mobile banking and connected services. Looking at the information from different angles and with different filters, one can see that at income quintile level, the development potential for mobile banking averages around 40%, taking into account the current availability of mobile devices and the current level of banking access. The highest potential is in quintiles 2 and 3, where it runs above 50%. When this information is segmented into educational levels, the highest potential is among those with secondary school education, where it is around 70%. This is due to a combination of high cell phone penetration and low access to the banking system. These results point to an major opportunity for developing mobile banking, taking advantage of the wide prevalence of devices, much higher than current banking access. It could be used as a tool for accessing the financial system, especially for those groups who are currently excluded.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Lopez-Moctezuma & Santiago Fernandez de Lis & Javier Alonso & Rosario Sanchez & David Tuesta, 2013. "The potential of mobile banking in Peru as a mechanism for financial inclusion," Working Papers 1325, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:bbv:wpaper:1325

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Prior, Francesc & Santoma, Javier, 2008. "La banca móvil como catalizadora de la bancarización de los pobres: Modelos de negocio y desafíos regulatorios," IESE Research Papers D/738, IESE Business School.
    2. Hugo Perea & David Tuesta & Alfonso Ugarte, 2012. "Lineamientos para impulsar el Credito y el Ahorro en el Peru," Working Papers 1301, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
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    More about this item


    Financial Inclusion; Peru; mobile banking; banking penetration; bancarization;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance


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