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Santander Mexico to Launch Digital Bank Service This Year

Santander bank

Santander Mexico, a subsidiary of global banking giant Santander, is preparing to launch its digital bank service.

Matias Nunez, the head of digital and innovation at Santander Mexico, said the service, Openbank, will launch this year, Reuters reported Tuesday (Jan. 23).

Openbank received its license to operate in Mexico in July and is now in its final stages of preparation for launch, according to the report.

The introduction of Openbank comes at a time when traditional banks in Mexico are trying to catch up with the rapid growth of digital banks, the report said. In fact, Santander Mexico’s competitor, Banorte, is also set to launch its digital bank service, Banco Bineo, next week. Furthermore, Brazilian FinTech Nubank has already gained over 4 million clients in Mexico as of September.

Santander Mexico has been actively embracing digitalization and has recently introduced several digitally focused services in the country, per the report.

For example, the bank implemented a customer-service bot on its social media platform using artificial intelligence (AI) application ChatGPT, according to the report.

Additionally, transfers through the Santander application experienced growth of over 40% in December compared to the previous year, totaling 40 million transactions, the report said.

Santander Mexico has also incorporated DiMo, an electronic transfer platform from Mexico’s central bank, into its application, with over 700,000 clients already using the service, per the report.

PYMNTS Intelligence has found that brick-and-mortar shoppers in Mexico are opting for contactless payments — especially contactless credit and debit cards — leading to a decline in the use of cash.

This shift to cards may provide a digital payments on-ramp that will boost online and omnichannel purchases, according to the “2023 Global Digital Shopping Index: Mexico Edition,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and Cybersource collaboration.

In December, B2B banking platform ZilBank launched a new feature that makes it easier for Mexican businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers to pay U.S. vendors, affiliates, employees and others.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform now allows Mexican users to open U.S. payment accounts online with passports, a statement of purpose and necessary documents.

In September, Nubank said it would continue expanding its footprint in Mexico by beginning to offer personal loans to customers in the country.