Mobile Payments Coming to Colombian Farmers

August 9, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

There are lots of great reasons to live in the country. The peace and quiet is the biggest one, followed by the generally genial neighbors and the ability to see actual stars at night thanks to the comparative lack of light pollution. “The pace of technological advancement,” however, is pretty far down the list, and that’s made clear by a new test project about to take place in Colombia. Three firms are getting together to offer mobile wallet services to Colombia’s farmers, and the idea is definitely worth taking notice of.

Basically, the three firms in question—Telefonica Colombia, Banco Agrario, and Comviva—looked at the market and realized that most people in Colombia have a mobile phone. With a mobile phone, mobile wallets become not just possible but readily available with the right software, so the trio looked to bring out that right software in question.

In the earliest stages, customers will have access to several key features, including opening mobile accounts, depositing and withdrawing cash, transferring money directly to other users, paying utility bills, and topping off their prepaid mobile connection. More services will likely follow from there, depending on how the early trials proceed.

The pilot program is poised to run for six months, and around 1,000 total users should have access to this system. Banco Agrario, meanwhile, is setting up its network of tellers and branchless agents to help offer those last-mile services to make this program work.

The new mobile wallet system should work reasonably well; after all, we’re talking about a lot of people who already have mobile phones and could really use a way to make cash payments happen that doesn’t involve carrying a wallet along with the phone. Farming is an unusual occupation; it involves a lot of moving around from one field to another, and the less you have to carry with you as you move, the better off you are in the end. Such a move would lighten the farmer’s load considerably, and potentially bring useful convenience to the farmer as well.

This combination will likely prove hard to pass up, and chances are, farmers throughout Colombia will embrace this new stance as a clear win.