The Latin American banking system is amongst the most bureaucratic sectors in the world today.
Simple tasks such as opening a bank account or getting a loan have an incredibly long and complicated process. In addition, when a customer enters a bank in Brazil, they are subject to airport-level security.
For these reasons, almost half of Latin America’s population have no bank account or credit history, or unbanked.
This is where Nubank came in.
Who is Nubank?
Nubank, founded in 2013, is a Brazilian digital bank and is currently the largest Fintech company in Latin America. To understand Nubank’s impact, it is important for you to first understand fintech in Brazil.
Since its start, Nubank has grown to become a $10 billion company and has expanded to other Latin American countries.
But what makes Nubank so successful?
Keep reading to find out more about why Nubank is so successful and how it is expanding into the rest of Latin America (LATAM)!
Nubank’s Success in Brazil
Brazil has a huge young and tech-savvy population with the median age in the country being 33. In addition, over half the population now owns a smartphone, which Nubank considers a focal point of its strategy.
It has new customers apply for a card through their smartphones by answering a few questions. Once they do so, Nubank checks their creditworthiness online using its own algorithms.
No need for complex credit score checks or to go through airport-level security scanning like at traditional banks!
Even those who have historically been unbanked and are not allowed to open a traditional bank account can do so with companies like Nubank.
This is the main driver behind why Nubank has been so popular in Brazil and is continuing to grow in number of users!
In addition, Nubank charges no fees. This is a refreshing advantage for those who are used to the high fees at traditional banks in Brazil.
The company estimates that it has helped save $1.5 billion in fees clients would have instead paid to traditional banks!
It also has extremely low consumer rates for credit cards, about 2.75% to 11.1% a month. This is a significant difference from the average consumer rates, reported by the central bank, of 14.25% a month.
With its ease-of-use and minimal consumer rates, Nubank has attracted millions of users while spending $0 on customer acquisition.
In fact, over 80% of Nubank’s Brazilian customers are sourced from word of mouth and unpaid referrals.
As the company grew in Brazil, it started to look into other Latin American countries with similar opportunities for digital banking.
Nubank’s Development of Fintech in Mexico
Similar to Brazil, Mexico also has a large unbanked population of 36 million and only about 10% of Mexican adults have credit cards. Seeing this as an opportunity to grow, Nubank has expanded its operations to promote fintech in Mexico.
The company now offers a no-annual-fee credit card which it hopes will help free Mexicans from their bureaucratic banking system. People control the credit card through a mobile app. Currently, there are over 30,000 customers on the waitlist!
Nubank’s CEO, David Vélez, predicts that its biggest customer acquisition channel in Mexico will be word of mouth, similar to Brazil. So far, the company has spent $0 on customer acquisition in Mexico.
Nubank in Rest of LATAM
Nubank has recently also made its way into Argentina, which is currently in the midst of a deep recession with exorbitantly high inflation.
Velez states the following in regards to Nubank’s expansion in Latin America: “We are a Latin American company that wants to free the banking industry for Latin Americans. There are 250 million unbanked in Latin America and we have a long term vision”.
As Nubank makes its way through the rest of Latin America, one thing is certain: it will certainly change the way banking is done in Latin America forever.
Growing Opportunities for Fintech in LATAM
Nubank is one of several fintech companies taking advantage of the growing demand for a new banking system in Latin America. If you are a fintech company looking to jumpstart your entry reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
With our team of digital marketing strategists, we can help you create the perfect market entry plan for any Latin American country!
In the meantime, check out Colibri Content to keep up with the latest fintech news in Latin America.