Giving People Control of Their MoneyBy Antonio Gozain | Tue, 03/01/2022 - 09:00
Q: What does financial inclusion mean for a country like Mexico?
A: In a country like Mexico, where financial inclusion is extremely low, even compared to countries with similar development in Latin America, we believe that increasing financial inclusion means a great deal. It can have a huge impact on the overall economy and well-being of millions of Mexicans.
In Mexico, only around 40 percent of adults have a bank account and around 10 percent of adults have a credit card. If you compare those figures with Brazil, which has similar GDP per capita, bank account penetration is around 80 percent. There is a great deal of room to grow in Mexico, which would result in a host of benefits. As people increasingly use formal financial products, they gain access to better ways to save, finance themselves and have more liquidity when they need it. This results in better, safer transactions, while reducing the use of cash, which in turn helps reduce petty crime or even more severe crimes, such as money laundering.
Q: What role can Nu play in the country’s financial development?
A: Knowing that we can have this impact in the country is a huge motivation for Nu. We believe we can thrive by offering better services that are really focused on the customer. Creating a brand that customers trust and providing products that are easy to use and are accessible are important.
There are several reasons for the low penetration of financial services in Mexico. The current offer lacks transparency, simplicity and is tailored to a very specific segment of the population. If we can improve that offering and make it more accessible, people will be interested in it. It is not that people do not want financial services, they just do not like those that are available. We are here to offer something different.
Q: What makes the Mexican market appealing for Nu?
A: Many characteristics make the Mexican market appealing for Nu. The Top 5 banks concentrate around 70 to 80 percent of all financial assets in Mexico. This concentrated industry is very profitable; if you look at the return on equity of Mexican banks, it is usually really high compared to international standards. Also, there is high customer dissatisfaction. Having a concentrated industry with profitable companies and where everyone is happy with their products is one thing; when you have concentration, a high return on equity plus dissatisfaction, that means that there is something broken in the system. People often refer to traditional financial services as a necessary evil. We should be offering services that people really praise.
Credit cards are used in Mexico in a very different way than they are used in other countries. For instance, in Brazil, people use them more as a transaction than as a product, so they are used mostly to buy something and users pay 100 percent of the balance at the end of the month. In Mexico, people use credit cards more as a way to finance themselves.
Q: How do you build close and trusting relationships with your customers?
A: We want customers to love us fanatically. Nu always puts the customer first in all our decisions, from the way we create products to what technologies we use, the pricing that we include, how people hire the product, how we design, the UX — everything is always focused on creating the best experience for customers.
Another important element is that Nu invests a great deal in customer service. We see customer service as a critical part of the experience, especially when you are dealing with a 100 percent digital product that people are still learning and getting to know. While some companies aim to lower costs in customer service, our main KPI is to increase customer satisfaction the most.
Building up trust with digital products is not always easy. We recognized that people really wanted physical branches, even though they hated going, because they thought that the only way to get the service they needed was to be there in-person. To be trusted, we had to create the best customer service and deliver on the promise to have people who are willing to serve our customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, through different, accessible channels.
Q: How does Nu reward customers for positive behaviors?
A: We want to reward customers for behaviors that we think are good for them. For instance, with no-interest monthly installments, if a client makes a purchase and then makes early payments, we provide a little bit of a refund. Given that we are getting the money earlier, we can offer this benefit. Nu motivates people to do things that are financially good for them. In addition, being transparent with interest charges helps to demystify them and makes them clear for customers.
Q: What is your perspective on traditional banks trying to emulate the fintech business model?
A: It is really great. Ultimately, our mission is to reduce complexity for customers, empowering them and giving them control over their money. Nu wants to be an influential company, not only for our customers but to help move the industry toward better products that will benefit people. That is the end goal.
The best thing that could happen is that there are more players in the market offering better products that put customers in a better place. It is positive that traditional banks are improving due to this fintech wave that has come to Mexico.
Q: What are Nu’s top priorities for Mexico in 2022?
A: The main goal is to continue growing exponentially our number of fanatical customers, delivering the best customer experience available in the market. Nu must continue to innovate; our product is never static. We continue to learn every day and to improve the product and overall experience on a daily basis. Nu has a very bright future in Mexico. While we have a lot of challenges ahead of us, we have the best team to compete.
Nu, founded in 2013, is one of the largest and most innovative companies of financier servicies in Latin America, with over 48 million people using its credit card and mobile application across Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.