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🥇 Nubank Review – Unbiased Pros & Cons

 

A review about Nubank

 

Nubank was the first challenger bank to launch in Brazil. It’s goal is to offer a faster, cheaper and more accessible banking alternative for the country’s some 250 million unbanked citizens, while at the same time eradicating exorbitant banking fees, crippling bureaucracy and inefficient customer service synonymous with traditional banks in Latin America.

Nubank offers a digital account with an Mastercard credit card, if you qualify. Both products are offered without fees. Nubank also offers a business account, debit card option, personal loans and life insurance.

What makes Nubank’s accounts and banking cards unique is they’re controlled completely through a mobile app. This gives customers the power to monitor their transactions, pay bills, transfer money, block cards, earn points, apply for a limit raise or loan and access 24/7 customer support all from a Smartphone. You never have to leave your office or home to bank, unless you need to withdraw cash from an ATM.

 

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Launched in 2013, Nubank has experienced resounding success with its simple, secure and 100% digital banking service. Its user base has nearly tripled from 12 million in 2019 to 34 million in early 2022. A giant Series G funding saw its funding reach a whopping $25 billion which is up from $10 billion in 2019. This makes Nubank the fourth-most valuable financial institution in Latin America.

Nubank was birthed from founding member Colombian David Vélez’s painful experience of opening a bank account in Brazil, which he describes as “almost going to jail”. The first Nubank transaction with its first financial product – an international Mastercard credit card with no annuity fees managed through a mobile app – was made on 1 April 2014. Four years later, Nubank became a unicorn startup with a valuation of US$1 billion.

In 2019, Nubank expanded operations in Mexico through a subsidiary called Nu. Since then, Nubank has acquired:

  • Platformatec, a company that specialises in software engineering and agile methodologies
  • Cognitect which is responsible for Datomic and the Clojure programming languages
  • Easyinvest, a Brazilian investment broker

Nubank is based in São Paulo, Brazil and has representative offices in Mexico City, Berlin and Germany.

 

Did you know?

A challenger bank competes with the large traditional banks but without brick-and-mortar branches or an ATM network. Their products and banking services are only available through the bank’s mobile app or their website.

Digital-only banks are growing by the numbers and their popularity is soaring because they are meeting a massive need to deliver banking that is faster, more convenient and considerably cheaper than traditional banks.

 

NUBANK FAST FACTS

Founded

2013

 

Founders

David Vélez, from Columbia

Cristina Junqueira, from Brazil

Edward Wible, from the United States

 

Chief Executive Officer

David Vélez

Before founding Nubank in 2013, David was a Partner at Sequoia Capital in charge of the firm’s Latin American investments. Before Sequoia, David worked in investment banking and growth equity at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and General Atlantic.

 

Headquarters

São Paulo, Brazil

 

What is Nubank?

Nubank is a Brazil-based 100% digital-only bank which provides banking services through a Smartphone app and no-fees credit card.

Nubank offers two primary kinds of accounts:

  • personal account
  • business account

Currently, no monthly fees are charged for either account. Both accounts offer competitive savings rates and convenient access via a user-friendly mobile app.

Nubank also offers an international debit card option, personal loans and complete life insurance. The last two are unique for a digital-only challenger bank.

 

Company funding

A Series G funding brings Nubank’s valuation to a whopping $25 billion, up from $10 billion in 2019.

Nubank is the fourth-most valuable financial institution in Latin America and the largest challenger bank in the world by market cap.

 

Is Nubank a bank?

The company holds a license from the Brazilian Central Bank.

 

Registered customers

January 2022 : 34 million registered customers

 

Nubank regulated associations

Nubank holds a license from the Brazilian Central Bank.

No general legislation currently regulates fintech companies in Brazil. However, Nubank has adopted a self-regulatory approach to its Open Bank model.

To boost the fintech sector, the National Monetary Council (Conselho Monetário Nacional) recently regulated what are known as Direct Credit Companies, financial institutions that provide loans and financing and acquire collection rights and P2P Loan Companies, financial institutions that broker loans and financing between peers.

Under the new legislation, SCDs and SEPs must act exclusively via electronic platforms, be incorporated as corporations and have minimum paid-in capital and net worth of BRL 1 million at all times.

SCDs and SEPs may also provide other services such as credit analysis, loan collection and electronic money issue.

 

Who can open a Nubank account?

  • a resident of Brazil who is 18 years and older
  • has a regular CPF status on the Reciera Federal Brasileira (Brazil version of the IRS)
  • has a Smartphone compatible with Nubank’s app for Android and iOS

 

How to open a Nubank digital account

Download Nubank’s mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.

Follow the simple steps to register an account, have your identity and address verified and apply for a credit or debit card.

Nubank does not conduct a credit check, it only performs an enrollment analysis to verify your identity and residential address.

 

Nubank products

Digital payment account

Mastercard credit card

Mastercard debit card

Pix

Personal loans

Insurance

 

Nubank banking cards

Nubank Mastercard with credit and debit options.

No monthly fees or annuity.

 

Currency

Nubank currently only offers accounts in Brazilian Real (R$).

 

Languages

Applications on the mobile app for products are only available in Portuguese.

Nubank website does offer an English option for information and marketing purposes.

 

Nubank is best digital bank for

Nubank is a revolutionary digital-only banking service for Latin American citizens who are tech-savvy, often unbanked and want a faster, more convenient and cheaper way to bank, get paid, earn interest and spend money with minimal fees and complete transparency.

Nubank is more suited for personal customers at the moment but its business products will shortly offer attractive cost-effective alternatives to products from traditional banks.

 

Customer support

Customer Support Team available 24/7 days on email, app chat, social media or the phone.

 

What does Nubank offer its customers?

 

Digital personal and business accounts

 

The Nubank classic account is called a Payment account. This is because Nubank is a payment services institution and not a traditional bank.

Nubank offers the choice of a personal and business account. Both can be accessed via a single mobile app with no maintenance fees. No paperwork is required to open a personal or business digital account with Nubank.

The benefits of using a Nubank personal or business account include:

  • no annuity or maintenance fees
  • free and unlimited transfers to any bank
  • fee-free to receive and activate a banking card with a debit option
  • automatically gives daily returns on deposits that are better than a savings account
  • includes a card with a debit option so you can make purchases or cash withdrawals
  • allows payments for electricity, water, telephone bills and online purchases

 

Nubank personal account

Nubank personal account is a payment account service for private individuals for fast, simple and cheaper banking transactions and also to earn interest on their money.

Nubank digital account has no monthly or annuity fee and gives customers a better daily earnings return than traditional savings accounts. It gives customers easy access to their money whenever they need it and without having to worry about losing the returns they’ve already gained.

Customers can make transfers and payments in real time and monitor the return on their money directly on the Nubank app.

 

Nubank business account

Nubank’s business account is ideal for business owners who want a simple, transparent and trustworthy account to run their business operations.

The Nubank business account is available for small business owners who are sole proprietors, individual entrepreneurs, freelancers and self-employed professionals.

You may apply for a separate Business account if you have a Nubank personal account and Mastercard credit card.

 

Nubank Credit card

Nubank customers are issued with a Mastercard credit card when they open a digital account and once their application has been approved. There are no monthly fees, annuity or hidden charges.

The Nubank Mastercard credit card is accepted at more than 30 million establishments around the world and offers Nubank customers access to all the Mastercard payment benefits. This includes getting discounts for paying your installments early.

You may request a Nubank Debit card if you prefer the debit option to the credit option.

 

Nubank Debit card

Nubank offers an international banking card with a debit option. The debit card is available on request through the mobile app for all digital account customers.

Nubank debit card allows you to withdraw money from your account or pay for goods and services online or in-store anywhere in the world through vendors that accepts Mastercard.

The Nubank debit card is a new product. Customers who have a Nubank credit card and would like to switch to the debit option or have both options can use the mobile app to change and request a new card.

 

Nubank mobile app

All Nubank transactions are done via its user-friendly mobile app. Nubank does not have brick-and-mortar branches or an ATM network.

Nubank’s mobile app is available for iOS and Android phones and offers biometric security which comprises a combination of FaceID, VoiceID and/or a 6-digit PIN.

 

Cash withdrawals from partner ATM networks

Nubank is a 100% digital bank and all transactions are done via its mobile app. To withdraw hard cash from your Nubank account, you can use any of the 25 000 ATMs in the Banco24Horas and Saque e Pague networks.

There is a fixed R$6.50 external network fee regardless of the amount you withdraw. This is the exact fee external banks charge, there is no markup.

Only customers who use the external ATM network for cash withdrawals pay this fee, and they only pay it when making a withdrawal.

 

Pix for instant payments

Nubank has recently introduced Pix in its product offering. You can use Pix with a credit card with no annual fee and a 100% digital account.

Pix is the Central Bank of Brazil’s new payment method. It can be used to make and receive instant money transfers, pay bills and for everyday purchases anytime by mobile phone.

Pix is fast and free. It’s a great alternative to boleto, TED, DOC and even debit cards. Your money arrives in seconds even if its from a different bank and you don’t pay to make or receive money transfers. Pix is safe and easy to use because you only receive transfers with one data called a Key.

 

Free and unlimited money transfers

The Nubank digital account allows you to send and receive money in real time and make scheduled transfers and same-day transfers (TEDs) to any bank. This service is free of charge.

 

Automatic savings

Nubank doesn’t offer a separate savings account. Instead, all money deposited into your Nubank digital account automatically and immediately starts earning interest at 100% the Interbank Deposit Rate for every business day the money is held in the account.

 

Nubank personal loan

Neobanks typically don’t offer high-risk lending products. Nubank is one of the few that offer Latin Americans a personal loan via a 100% digital app.

To avoid making a mistake by taking out a personal loan with Nubank that you can’t afford, you can run a simulation on the mobile app. This shows you exactly how much and when you’ll have to pay installments.

There are no hidden fees; the rate charged on Nubank loans is fully transparent and you can see all costs on the loan simulation on the app.

The payments for your installments are made via automatic debit on your Nubank digital account. All you need is to have enough funds in your account by the end of the due date for Nubank to process it.

You have up to 90 days to pay the first installment on your Nubank personal loan and you choose the date of the first payment during the simulation.

The loan can be paid off in between 1 and 24 installments.

Interest rates are personalized to each customer and vary depending on the number of installments chosen during the simulation. To see the exact rate, run a simulation on the Nubank app.

 

Nubank Life

Nubank now offers its customers a complete life insurance option with an average starting price of R$ 9 per month. There are no hidden fees; what you pay is transparent in the simulation when you apply on Nubank’s app.

The basic insurance coverage ensures the financial protection of your beneficiaries and also offers individual funeral assistance in the case of the policy holder’s death.

You can customise Nubank Life for extra coverage for:

  • funeral assistance for family members
  • hospitalisation
  • disability

 

Nubank Rewards

Nubank offers a Rewards programme with a fair points system that’s easy to redeem via the mobile app.

You can use the points you earn to:

  • eliminate certain charges from restaurants and programme partners
  • exchange points for flights and accommodation purchased on any site

Nubank customers sign up for the Rewards programme on the mobile app and have the choice of two plans:

  • R$19 per month
  • R$190 per year

The first 30 days are free and you can cancel the Rewards programme anytime you want to via the mobile app. Nubank Reward points do not expire.

Examples of Nubank Rewards partners include:

iFood : a food delivery application that has more than 1 000 restaurants and establishments registered in the country.

Netflix : a streaming service in more than 190 countries that allows customers to watch a varied choice of TV series, movies and documents.

Uber : a company that connects drivers and passengers via a digital app in more than 500 cities worldwide

Microsoft and Xbox : one of the largest software manufacturers in the world

LivUp : online store for healthy frozen food

 

How the Nubank Rewards programme works

An example:

If you spend R$ 2 500, you accumulated 2 500 points.

Every 100 points eliminates R$1 from the invoice when you purchase goods and services from a Nubank Rewards partner.

Therefore, with 2 500 points, you can eliminate a purchase of up to R$ 25.

This purchase will be deleted from your invoice and will no longer have to be paid.

 

Nu credit card in Mexico

Nubank launched its Nu credit card in Mexico in 2014. This is an incredible opportunity for some 36 million people in the country who are ‘unbanked’.

Half of Mexico’s population is under 24 years old and is digitally engaged. However, due to the legacy banking oligopolies, only 10% of Mexican adults have credit cards.

Nubank and other neobanks are targeting Latin American countries like Mexico and Argentina as the place to be to offer unbanked citizens a faster, more convenient and cheaper banking service through cloud-based technology.

 

How much does it cost to bank with Nubank?

A Nubank digital account has no annuity fees and you don’t pay anything to transfer your money to any other bank or to make deposits via bank deposit slips. There is no charge to receive or activate your banking card.

There is a fee to withdraw cash using one of the ATM in the Banco24Horas and Saque e Pague networks. You only pay the withdrawal fee when you use an external ATM.

Nubank is a 100% digital-only bank and does not have expensive bricks-and-mortar branches or ATM network. These cost savings are passed on to Nubank customers in the form of fee-free services. The only fee charged is for cash withdrawals and for optional membership of the Nubank Rewards benefit programme.

 

Account maintenance fee R$ 0
Deposit via bank deposit slip R$ 0
Issue of card with debit function R$ 0
Cash withdrawal at partner ATM network R$ 6.50 per withdrawal

 

Is it safe to use Nubank?

Nubank is a licensed neobank in Brazil. It received its license from the Central Bank of Brazil.

 

Nubank Security Policy

Nubank has installed these guidelines to ensure funds in your Nubank account are protected and data confidentiality and privacy is guaranteed.

Classify data according to its criticality and sensitivity to the business and its customers so that adequate security is applied to reduce vulnerabilities.

Apply the defense-in-depth strategy by implementing more than one layer of security to mitigate the possible compromise of one of the layers of defense.

Maintain the ability to prevent, detect and reduce vulnerability to incidents related to the cyber environment, using records of traceability of data manipulation of the company and its customers.

Ensure that the data of the company and its customers are accessed and manipulated by authorized persons and securely.

Protect technological assets and establish procedures for monitoring company networks and employee machines to detect intrusions.

Conduct incident monitoring and response, following the steps of detection, emergency mitigation, and root cause analysis.

Develop incident scenarios for periodic continuity testing.

Ensure team awareness through mandatory training and periodic assessments.

 

Biometric security system

Nubank uses an advanced biometric security system to keep your account details and funds safe. You can choose the combination of login methods that suit you.

 

SCR

The Credit Information System (SCR) is a system managed by Brazilian Central Bank (BACEN). It contains information about credit operations (such as loans and financing) and credit limits granted by institutions authorised to operate by BACEN.

SCR is updated monthly by institutions through the collection of information about matured operations. Therefore, in line with Central Bank Resolution 4571, every month Nubank provides Central Bank with information about your credit operations related to the Credit Card and Loan products.

The SCR system can help you to demonstrate your payment capacity. Besides that, by accessing SCR, you will be able to see all your credit operations and have more control over your finances. The SCR system gives more visibility for financial institutions, enabling individualised credit analysis.

 

Pros and Cons of Nubank 

Pros Cons
Free account with 0% maintenance fee

 

Fully-integrated Mastercard credit and debit card

 

No fees for instant money transfers

 

Offer personal and business account

 

Offer credit and debit card options

 

Offer personal loans and life insurance

 

Attractive Nubank Rewards programme

 

Earnings on funds held in accounts are higher than AER savings

 

Substantial company funding

 

License from Central Bank of Brazil

 

Fourth-most valuable financial institution in Latin America and largest challenger bank in the world

 

Strong corporate culture backed by extensive industry experience

 

Expanding footprint to Mexico and Argentina

 

Limited product offering (but growing)

 

Fixed R$6.50 fee to withdraw cash at ATMS regardless of the amount

 

Only available in Brazil; Nu credit card available in Mexico

 

 

 

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IN SUMMARY

Nubank in Brazil is one of the most exciting challenger banks to watch in 2022. Launched in 2013, it has garnered substantial funding to the tune of $25 billion and has over 34 million registered customers. Nubank is the fourth-most valuable financial institution in Latin America and the largest challenger bank in the world.

Nubank’s meteoric rise is a classic ‘David and Goliath’ story where a fledging neobank has taken on the bureaucrat oligopolies in Brazil to offer a simpler, faster and significantly cheaper banking service using cloud-based technology.

Founder and CEO David Vélez says the goal was to cut the long and bureaucratic process of opening a bank account in Brazil and eliminate extortionist banking charges and poor customer service which are synonymous with big banks in Latin America.

Nubank’s product offering is somewhat limited to what challenger banks typically offer. It may be too early to close down your account with a traditional bank. However, Nubank is not afraid to stretch the boundaries by offering a credit card and personal loans, and more products and fintech innovation is promised.

The uptake of Nubank’s 100% digital-only account and credit card is nothing short of phenomenal and this is despite Nubank spending almost nothing on marketing. Instead, they’ve used social media in an ingenious way to talk to potential customers in an informal, friendly (very unbanky) way.

There are some 250 million ‘unbanked’ people in Brazil and over 36 million in Mexico, which is where Nubank has set its sights to expand its global footprint. After Mexico, Nubank will venture into Argentina. There is much room for growth for Nubank on that side of the world.

Nubank appeals to the massive unbanked market in Latin America who have been deprived of banking for so long as well as the banked market who have had enough of red tape, outrageous banking costs and terrible customer service. Nubank is on point with reading what the new-age citizen wants from a bank and a swathe of potential customers need little encouragement to sign up for a digital personal account and credit card.

Author Details

Louis Schoeman

Louis Schoeman

Featured Forex and Stocks writer

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