A tiny town with no banks gets electronic banking.


Santiago Nuyoo in Oaxaca, Mexico, has less than 2,000 residents and no bank.

But it offers solid evidence that an unbanked community can still access financial services.

Under a partnership between the government-owned telecommunications company Telecomm--Telegrafos, Banorte the country's largest Mexican-owned bank] and MasterCard, Santiago Nuyoo now has easy access to a financial network.

Townspeople--who previously lived in a cash economy--can call a number, provide basic information and go to the local Telecomm Telegrafos office to get a prepaid card with a security code. The card is linked to the customer's cell phone. They can receive payments on the account or use the cell phone to pay bills. They can also access their money at any Telecomm Telegrafos office or Banorte branch or ATM when they travel outside the town.

This "mobile wallet" program, called MiFon, is being expanded to other parts of Mexico, including large cities with unbanked and underserved populations. MasterCard says that since the system was introduced, the town uses 4-0 percent less cash.

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