BOSTON, June 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Airfox today announced banQi, its free and flexible digital challenger bank designed specifically for the Brazilian market and its 50 million people who are not served by traditional banking establishments. Developed by Airfox with strategic partner Via Varejo, a leading Brazilian retailer, the banQi platform evolved from the Airfox digital wallet that launched in Brazil in 2018 — continuing an evolution that is emblematic of the Boston fintech startup's rapid growth.
Aiming to provide transformative financial services to people in emerging markets who have not historically had quality access to banks, Airfox's banQi provides clients with a streamlined mobile platform that offers personal finance management and transparent, no-cost solutions. To serve local communities, banQi allows Brazilians to access banking services in neighborhoods throughout Brazil — with nearly 1,000 convenient physical locations for making deposits, paying bills, and more.
banQi: The free digital bank that values you as you are
banQi is targeted towards both the underbanked and the 120 million Brazilian consumers connected to the internet who want a more accessible, affordable, human, and transparent bank to manage, optimize, and increase their financial wellness. Unlike incumbent banks and other digital financial apps, banQi serves clients with both physical and digital banking capabilities.
"Trust between people and institutions is the key to financial inclusion and social development," said Victor Santos, CEO and founder, Airfox. "Airfox is shifting the financial paradigm in emerging markets by providing the underserved and those lacking traditional credit history with access to free, democratic financial solutions that are built on inclusion and trust."
Airfox's exclusive partnership with Via Varejo, one of the largest retailers in Brazil with a 50 million customers and nearly 1,000 retail stores, provides the opportunity to extend banQi to the retail giant's enormous and loyal customer base – starting with digital banking services and affordable microcredit solutions. This summer, banQi clients will have the ability to deposit and withdraw money at any of Via Varejo's Casas Bahia stores located in 400 cities throughout Brazil. In addition, customers of Casas Bahia will be able to manage and make monthly payments on their Casas Bahia carnês, a popular way to finance purchases using affordable monthly installments that spread the cost out over many months. This month, Airfox will expand the retail rollout significantly across Brazil. (This partnership enhances Airfox credibility and awareness with consumers, as Via Varejo has been faithfully serving the Airfox target market for decades.)
To address the unique needs of Latin America's largest economy, Airfox has invested in extensive market research and customer feedback on-site in Brazil to strategically increase financial inclusion in a notoriously economically unstable country. Key features of the new banQi platform include:
- Free financial services for all — Airfox's banQi offers free financial services to all, with no credit or background check required. Available now, banQi users can simplify their finances by digitizing financial transactions such as sending money to other users instantly and completely free, topping up mobile phones and public transit cards, as well as paying utilities and other bills using Boletos (a local Brazilian push payment method). This summer, Airfox will also be launching the free banQi debit card with a 1% cash back on all transactions.
- Simple online and offline banking — Physical banQi locations in local communities offer users unparalleled convenience. Large customer populations in Brazil live in rural communities and people must often travel hours just to pay bills or deposit cash. banQi leverages a unique distribution and servicing strategy by developing the only digital bank accessed via mobile phone and/or nearly 1,000 offline "bank branches" using the physical distribution and brand recognition of local, trusted Casas Bahia retail stores. Deposits can also be made via bank transfer, Boleto, and cash at 200,000+ other offline, physical locations including banks and ATMs, without needing to have an account at that bank. banQi services meet users where they are with what they already have.
- A frictionless, instantly accessible digital challenger bank — The banQi platform allows for any person in Brazil to create and access, in seconds, a free digital bank account with eventual access 50% more affordable credit directly from their smartphone. Excellent, personal, and fast customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Airfox also envisions its platform's AirToken serving as a bridge between currencies, which may further facilitate fast, low-cost access to credit.
- Strategic partnerships to drive mainstream adoption — Airfox is strategically expanding its footprint by securing thoughtful partnerships, including household names like Netflix and Uber, that enhance operational advantages and integrate its platform into the everyday purchasing habits of users. With 80,000 downloads of the app via Google Play before banQi rollout, Airfox has successfully differentiated itself from competitors by establishing global and hyperlocal partnerships that integrate Airfox into the day-to-day lives of its customers (with more coming soon).
"In Brazil, banks have culturally perpetuated the country's socioeconomic elitism and financial inequality," added Santos, a Brazilian immigrant. "Strict hours, long lines, branches nowhere to be found in the poorest neighborhoods, and massive amounts of bureaucracy have been the default for decades. Now, together with Airfox, let's unite to revolutionize the financial system with a new kind of bank, an inclusive bank, built by the people for the people, for the people."
Airfox is on a mission to provide the roughly 4 billion unbanked and financially underserved individuals in emerging markets mobile access to financial services. Airfox aims to create an entirely new financial services model that serves the underbanked with reliable, egalitarian, and democratic access to capital and financial services. Airfox is a venture-backed, financial technology company based in Boston and São Paulo. To learn more about the future of decentralized digital banking, visit www.airfox.com.
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