Digital challenger banking startup Airfox has announced a partnership with Mastercard Brazil to expand the availability of low-cost banking solutions, according to a release by the company.
Airfox has a mission built on the principles of financial inclusion; it also secured partnerships with Cielo and Zurich Insurance to expand an existing agreement with Brazil retail company Via Varejo.
The partnerships are worth upwards of $77 million.
Airfox’s push toward inclusion is apparent in its Brazilian banking service called banQi, which is free. With its new partnerships, Airfox is expanding banQi in a goal to serve the underbanked in the country.
"By combining Via Varejo's expertise in financial services with Airfox's advanced technology, we are able to offer our customers even more ease and convenience," said Felipe Negrão, chief financial officer, Via Varejo. "With Airfox, we are developing financial solutions that add value to deliver a seamless experience for banQi customers."
Users will have access to both digital and physical prepaid cards for online and offline purchases. They will not need a formal credit history or a traditional bank account to use the services, and the Airfox Mastercard will make it even easier to get cash from most ATMs in Brazil.
"This strategic partnership with Airfox provides not only convenient and secure transactions, but also financial and digital inclusion for a portion of the population that doesn't have access to financial and digital services," said João Pedro Paro Neto, president of South America and Brazil, Mastercard.
The partnership with Via Varejo's Casas Bahia stores means that Airfox’s digital challenger bank will be available in 400 cities, in all 800+ stores.
"At present, those without bank accounts face daily financial challenges," said Victor Santos, chief executive officer and founder, Airfox. "Generally, the poorer you are, the more you pay for financial services and the less access you have to wealth-building instruments. Today's largely digital world presents an opportunity to balance that inequity – and banQi services represent a leap in the right direction."