A new financial transactions law, Ley de Dinero Electrónico, signed this week by President Ollanta Humala will make it easier for Peruvians to conduct financial transactions using their mobile phones. The law, which goes into effect this July, will help the estimated 65 percent of poor Peruvians who lack access to formal banking services or ATMs.
More than 32 million mobile phone users will be able to securely pay invoices, transfer money, purchase goods and deposit money to their phone from their checking and savings account, greatly increasing both their financial and social inclusion. The electronic funds will be offered by banks, savings and loans institutions, and new companies that specialize in mobile transactions, such as the Empresas Emisoras de Dinero Electrónico (EEDE).
Currently, only 28 percent of the adult population use formal bank accounts. The new law has the potential to reach 95 percent of the districts in Peru that have mobile coverage.
Humala also announced that this new strategy allows the Pensión 65 recipients (government stipend program for the marginalized, elderly population) receive their monthly stipend of 125 soles ($49) through mobile transactions.
According to Scotiabank’s innovation channels manager in Lima, Miguel Arce, “Approximately $15 billion moves in the retail business per year. About 6 percent of these transactions are done through banks, which means that $10 billion moves in cash through grocery stores, hardware stores and others, all of which use cell phones.”