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Moody's: Banorte's debit card partnership with Amazon Mexico a credit positive

Banco Mercantil del Norte SA Institución de Banca Múltiple's partnership with Amazon.com Inc. to launch a rechargeable debit card in Mexico is credit positive for the bank, according to Moody's.

In a statement, the rating agency said the partnership "will increase the bank's retail customer base by attracting clients currently unable to use Amazon's online services because they have no bank accounts." Moody's noted that more than half of Mexico's population "does not have a bank account or debit card and rarely uses a bank for their day-to-day transactions." The new card, which is backed by Mastercard Inc., would help to expose the bank to such customer segments.

The rating agency added Banorte's decision to link the card with mobile banking would further strengthen the bank due to a tendency by Mexican customers to migrate towards smartphone and internet channels.

Under the scheme, which was presented earlier in March, customers have to deposit $500 or more in one or multiple transactions to receive the physical card. It can be loaded with cash in convenience stores across the country and can be managed through Banorte Móvil, the issuing bank's mobile app.