Grupo Telefonica and MasterCard International have announced the formation of MFS, a joint venture that will focus on developing mobile payment solutions in Brazil. The new JV will launch its first product, a MasterCard branded prepaid account that can be accessed via a mobile device, in April 2013.

According to the companies, the first product is specifically designed to meet the needs of Telefonica Vivo subscribers who lack bank accounts. Telefonica Vivo is the operating brand for Telefonica in Brazil and boasts nearly 92 million subscribers.

Similar to other mobile money systems in developing markets, the new prepaid account will let users load balances at a network of agents like supermarkets and newsstands. The product, which will use USSD technology, will be compatible with all GSM handsets, not just a select few phones, and will offer users a safe, secure method for making transactions, the companies said

"The new product will bring ease, inclusion, control and security to millions of Brazilians," said Mark Etchegoyen, chairman of MFS Services Payment Services Ltda. "The prepaid account on phones opens up new prospects for millions of people who own cell phones and have never had access to the benefits of electronic payment and a checking account."

For more stories like this, visit the mobile money/P2P research center.

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