Problems with bank accounts in Brazil? Fintechs are the answer.

This is a text that I did for Plus55, a content platform for foreigners living in Brazil

Fintechs focus on correcting the inefficiencies and dissatisfaction felt by consumers of traditional banks

Fintechs, with their increasing popularity worldwide, are creating a revolution within financial systems for focusing on innovation and user experience. If Uber, Netflix and Airbnb disrupted traditional industries, startups are also disrupting the banking sector.

In the case of Brazil, as in other developing countries, Fintechs focus on correcting the inefficiencies and dissatisfaction felt by consumers of traditional banks. As a result, according to the last Fintechlab radar, there are 207 Fintechs in the country. However, this number is expected to rise to 240 at the beginning of 2017.

Although the benefits of Brazilian Fintechs are numerous, we decided that it would be most practical not to enumerate their many positives, but instead to make a list of start-ups that would best assist new arrivals to Brazil.

Foreigners typically encounter some difficulties with opening bank accounts quickly, mostly because of local bureaucracy. So without further ado, here are some Fintechs that’ll help you navigate this.

Zuum

This is a digital bank that you can access from either your laptop or its phone app. With a Zuum account, you’ll be able to charge your prepaid mobile phone, your transport card, pay your bills, and transfer money. In addition, you can request a prepaid Mastercard that would let you make cash withdrawals and make payments in select stores. To charge your account, you can complete transfers from some banks or at accredited shops. Zuum is linked to Vivo, the mobile company, so Zuum offers some benefits for also using your Vivo account. Fees might be charged for certain transactions and for acquiring a debit card. For more information, you can go check out their site.

Acesso

This is a prepaid Mastercard that can be used both within Brazil and abroad. You can acquire a card by going to one of the affiliated shops listed on their official website. To charge your prepaid card account, you can use boletos, bank transfers, a specific Acesso bank, or by going to accredited shops. In addition to making payments at any brick-and-mortar stores, the Accesso card also allows you to shop online. You will be charged a monthly fee to use the card, and might also need to pay extra fees on certain transactions. You can manage your card account through its online app. For more information, take a look.

Celcoin

This is an online digital account that allows you to charge your mobile phone, buy apps or games for your phone, pay bills, and complete money transfers. To make a deposit into your account you can use a Celcoin bank account, a boleto, or simply go to one of their accredited shops. Some fees are charged for cash withdrawal. The account is entirely managed through the phone app. For more information, click here.

An important reminder! To have access to the above services, you’ll need a CPF. Plus, keep in mind that authorized amounts that can be transferred into these Fintech accounts range from R$ 3000 to R$ 5000 per month.

There are also another two useful Fintechs that I would suggest checking out, although these require a RNE.

Nubank

Regarded as Brazil’s most successful Fintech, this is an app connected to a credit card. In order to acquire the card, you’ll need both a CPF and a RNE. The request process is done through the app. It’s best to have another user invite you to open an account, although you can also request an account directly on the site. The app is free, and you won’t pay an annuity on the credit card. Furthermore, this Fintech is renown for its great customer service. For more information, go check out their website.

Picpay

This is the Venmo of Brazil. The app allows you to make money transfers between people (your phone contacts, for example) and lets you avoid  standard wiring operations. To send and receive money, you’ll need a credit card or a picpay wallet. Any money you receive can either be transferred to a bank account or left in the wallet to pay for services at select shops. Businesses can also use Picpay to receive money. Both the app and transfers are free. For more information, go to www.picpay.com.br.

Remember that Fintechs aren’t banks (we’ll cover the digital banks opening across Brazil in another article)  If you’re curious to learn more about Fintech services offered in Brazil, be sure to let me know so that I can address those topics in the future.

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