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Flybits: Personalizing the Banking Experience

Federico De Simoni - Flybits
Head of Latin America


Sofía Hanna By Sofía Hanna | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Fri, 01/28/2022 - 09:36

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Q: What is Mastercard bringing to Flybits’ operation and how does it help you stand out?

A: Mastercard, a Fortune 500 company running an extremely profitable business, has pivoted to become a service company. Mastercard has been a great partner that has enabled us to scale much faster across North America, MEA, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LATAM.


From a scaleup perspective, working with a global financial industry leader like Mastercard, helps us increase and build brand equity. Their investment in Flybits demonstrates the quality of our solution, while we help Mastercard to deliver hyper-personalized services, create more value for their customers, and help position financial institutions for the future of banking.



Q: What do banks need to do to connect with their customers and provide a better experience?

A: Communication is important. Over 50 percent of the Mexican and Brazilian population report a bad experience when banks reach out to them. We did a survey of Latin America, focusing on Brazil and Mexico, on customer perception when banks reach out to them. We found that many clients described it as a very painful experience: 10 percent of Mexicans compared it to a visit to the dentist and 40 percent as the equivalent of having a terrible stomach ache.


To improve the relationship, banks can establish a trusted connection so their customers do not have to concern themselves on privacy issues when they interact with their financial institutions. Clients should learn that banks can do so much for them beyond just offering core products, such as car loans, savings and wealth management. Banks can, in fact, be more than a bank.



Q: How can banks improve their communication with clients?

 A: Personalization is key. Emails, SMS and banner ads are a one-size-fits-all communication that do not add value. Reminders of specific benefits are better. For example, a platinum cardholder who receives a reminder of the card’s benefits when they arrive at the airport are more likely to remain loyal to the bank. On average, we have two or three credit cards in our wallet. Most of the time, we do not know anything about them, so it is important to create this trusted communication and then build on top of this. Technology is a great asset to do that because it can deliver a hyper-personalized experience. Context for banking, a big trend in Latin America, involves having a bank that delivers added value on a daily basis.



Q: What is Flybits contribution to fintech development?

A: Born out of a university research lab, Flybits continues to advance its systems and services through key intellectual properties that incumbent technology cannot duplicate. Recognized as a global Fintech leader in customer experience by Frost & Sullivan, Flybits continuously strives to provide thought leadership and education to the industry. The company’s founder and CEO, Hossein Rahnama, was recognized as a top global AI CEO for 2020 and as one of MIT’s Global TR35 Group. Flybits has received several awards, including Frost & Sullivan’s prestigious Global Technology Innovation Leadership Award in 2019, and has been recognized as one of Canada’s fastest-growing startups by LinkedIn, Deloitte, and more.


Flybits helps position its customers for the future of customer experience in banking, by continuing to develop and refining its product portfolio to drive extreme innovation, efficiency, and customer value.  



Q: What are the main trends in online banking for 2022 in Latin America?

A: The Top 5 trends will relate to payment. The first is peer-to-peer instant payment systems, such as CoDi in Mexico and Pix in Brazil, which will become increasingly popular. These payment platforms enable transactions between users or merchants without any infrastructure cost. Unfortunately, CoDi adoption in Mexico is low but in Brazil, it is forecasted that by 2025 over 20 percent of transactions will take place on these platforms. The second trend involves new banking options, such as Ualá. In the beginning, these companies experienced hyper-growth and in the next year, we will see how they perform.


Banking as a service is the third trend. Brazil’s Conductor had an IPO in Wall Street and entered the Mexican market. This bank as a service opens the opportunity to many new players. The fourth trend is personalization to provide one-to-one interaction. The final trend is the transformation of banks into super-apps. Banks have understood that digital services are crucial and have invested in their mobile applications.



Q: What are the advantages of having a banking service that relies on artificial intelligence? How has this made a difference in what Flybits offers?


  • A: AI has empowered us to uncover deep insights about people at lightning speed, enabling us to then deliver meaningful guidance and recommendations in the moments they need it.
  • Many banks are struggling, however, and have indicated that they first need to upgrade their banking apps to "at par" with basic functionality in 2022 before. AI has helped enable other industry segments to reinvent their customer journeys and experience this has set a benchmark for banks to follow as this becomes the new norm and hygiene factor. Customers now expect personalization.
  • Before adopting an AI solution of any kind, it’s important to figure out what it is you’re trying to solve. From there, you can determine which type of AI is required. Domain knowledge and context are the biggest elements currently missing in enterprise AI. Most companies struggle with data portability and how to securely move data from one system to another. When a company embarks on its AI journey before tackling their data strategy, its AI initiatives are hyper-prone to risks. AI procurement is also a key issue for large companies. There are more than 50 different ways to use AI in a large enterprise and most organizations are unsure how to orchestrate different types of AI on a large scale - resulting in an unsatisfactory outcome. Flybits helps streamline this.
  • AI, in combination with a robust data strategy, can truly help to reshape our understanding of the optimal customer journey and experience. It allows financial institutions to progress beyond outdated forms of communication and shift from mass campaigns to real-time, trigger-based interactions.

Flybits has its own models but our differentiator is our ability to bring our models and channels to banks or startups.



Q: What are Flybits’ next steps in Latin America?

A: Flybits has recently opened two offices in Latin America: one in Mexico City and the other in Sao Paulo. We have experienced exponential growth in the region. Latin America is the new Klondike of fintech. About 652 million people live in the region and 50 percent of them are unbanked. The region also has an 80 percent smartphone penetration so there are major opportunities in Latin America. We are comfortable saying that 2022 is going to be a great year for us.


Flybits was founded in 2013 on the belief that data is the digital economy’s most valuable asset and can enhance people's lives in powerful ways: helping them connect to loved ones, make better decisions, and filter out unwanted noise. Guided by this belief, Flybits helps financial institutions to bring the power of data to life-transforming customer data into one-of-a-kind personalized experiences by launching predictive and contextual digital recommendations, at scale.

Backed by global leaders including TD Bank, Mastercard, and Point 72 Ventures, the Toronto based fintech has scaled across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, LATAM, and MEA.

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