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How Banco Inter is working to democratize access to the digital economy in Brazil

This interview was originally featured in “Industry Insights: The World’s Fast-Growing Ecommerce Market, Part One” as part of a curated collection of executive interviews in Latin America conducted by eMarketer in partnership with VTEX, an e-commerce and marketplace platform , was carried out. Download your free copy today!

How are fintech companies working to bridge the gap between bank and bank accounts and democratize access to the digital economy in Brazil?

Many consumers from the lower socio-economic strata of Brazil do not have access to or cannot afford traditional banking services. The rise of fintech companies over the past six years has helped revolutionize the Brazilian banking sector by giving consumers with no or no bank details access to financial services through a single mobile app.

Everyone needs a bank, but we believe consumers don’t have to pay for a checking account. To attract new customers, our strategy focused on offering one of the first 100% free digital checking accounts in Brazil. This means that we do not charge cardholders any pension or fees for ATM withdrawals or bank transfers. Consumers can now be treated equally and purchase both financial and non-financial products.

We currently have more than 10 million customers and open around 38,000 new bank accounts every day. This is a truly remarkable social achievement that Banco Inter has made. And with our digital marketplace, we are quickly becoming a one-stop shop for consumers.

What made Banco Inter expand into the world of e-commerce? What opportunities do you see in the Brazilian market?

No other institute knows more about its customers than banks. We know who they are, what they spend, how they consume – everything. So the next logical step for us was to use our audience as a marketplace. We believe companies that provide people with broader and more transparent access to credit and financial services – while understanding the entire consumer lifecycle – will be the biggest winners in e-commerce.

We first started by competing with Google and Facebook as an advertising environment where retailers could come into play, reach an interesting audience, and segment that audience. In return, they would get not just a lead, but a completed purchase.

In financial terms, we see this as an opportunity for e-commerce – for us as a company and for our customer base. As our audience draws the traders to our marketplace, it’s only fair that we share some of our profits with them in the form of cashback.

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