A joint venture between Telefonica and MasterCard is launching a mobile money service in Brazil called Zuum, in an effort to crack a crucial market in a region which has so far held out against adopting such services.
MFS (Mobile Financial Service) is to offer the service, which claims to be the country’s first for mobile payments, to the subscribers of Telefonica’s Vivo, Brazil’s largest mobile operator.
It will launch first in five cities in Sao Paulo state, as well as Belo Horizonte, state capital of neighbouring Minas Gerais.
The timing is generally in keeping with a previous announcement by MFS back in November when it talked about an April launch for a range of services.
Vivo customers must pay into a pre-paid account from which they can transfer money to other users, pay bills as well as top-up credit on their phones.
They can also opt for a physical payment card from MasterCard which accesses the same pre-paid account. The card is necessary for making purchases in retail outlets, or using ATM machines.
The mobile phone aspect of the service is based on USSD technology.