largest banks in the country lose out to fintechs in the race to attract customers

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SÃO PAULO – The Central Bank (BC) released a list of the ten financial institutions that registered the most Pix keys until last Wednesday (14). The five major banks in the country (Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa, Itaú and Santander) are behind fintechs like Nubank, which is the first place, Mercado Pago and PagSeguro, in the second and third positions, respectively.

According to the most recent data from the BC, until 6 pm on Wednesday, there were almost 33.7 million enrollments of keys (see below) in the new instant payment system.

Bradesco is the first of the five largest banks in the country to appear on the list, in fourth place, and has less than half the keys that Nubank registered.

See the ranking:

Financial institution Number of registered keys
1. Nubank8.086.037
2. Mercado Pago4.731.115
3. PagSeguro4.317.725
4. Bradesco3.710.035
5. Box2.499.903
6. Banco do Brasil2.147.744
7. Itaú1.756.684
8. Santander1.637.709
9. Pic Pay1.135.336
10. Inter889.588

In general, Marcos Zanini, CEO of Dinamo Networks, a company specializing in digital identity security and encryption, points out that the volume of registered keys was surprising.

“On the first day, in a matter of hours, a million keys had already been registered. Just over a week later, we already have almost 34 million. Not even the most optimistic people expected such a result. And I believe that until the launch of the system on November 16, the registrations may reach 50 million. From this perspective, Pix is ​​a success ”, he says.

Despite expectations with the new system, the effects on the market and customer adherence can only be truly assessed after the arrival of Pix.

Better for fintechs?

As you can see from the list, fintechs occupy the top positions on the list so far. But what does it mean?

Experts heard by InfoMoney agree that three main points have been decisive for this partial result so far: customer profile, user experience and technological infrastructure.

For Bruno Diniz, professor of fintech in the MBA area at USP, clients of fintechs are more likely to adopt new technologies. “In addition to having a confidence in doing this when guided by institutions that they believe have good infrastructure,” he explains.

In the same vein, a report by XP Investimentos, signed by Marcel Campos, an analyst in the financial sector, points out that the age of customers has especially influenced Nubank’s position. “Young people are more engaged digitally and it is precisely in this part of the pyramid that the digital bank has the most strength,” he says.

Marcelo Martins, representative of ABFintechs, who is part of the Pix working group at BC, adds that in addition to the propensity for innovation, which fintechs customers have, companies have invested in the user experience, offering simple and intuitive solutions during registration .

In fact, according to the XP report, the fintechs that lead the list have developed a more user-friendly interface for users to register their keys, with fewer steps to register.

“As the benefits of Pix are not well known to users, we believe that an easier registration can play an important role in the growth of the base”, says Martins.

Diniz adds that another side effect of these data is the possibility that large banks have lost a portion of customers who also have an account with a fintech and, at the time of registration, have chosen to stay with the digital institution.

“Perhaps banks that have customers who also use Nubank, for example, may have lost to fintech their most connected customer with the most digital profile, who has already identified with Pix. But there is an immense customer base of large banks that do not have relationships with other institutions and can register in the coming weeks ”, he ponders.

Regarding the presence of Mercado Pago and PagSeguro at the top of the list, the XP report indicates that the high volume may be related to corporate customers – such as merchants and small retailers.

“We believe that the customer profile of Mercado Pago and PagSeguro played an important role in their respective performances, since small traders do not need transactions to be integrated with an ERP [na sigla em inglês, ou sistema de gestão integrado], thus facilitating the implementation of a technology like Pix. In addition, for merchants the more ways to receive payments, the better. And, as there are no costs related to the registration of keys, it must be easy for these two companies to engage tenants ”.

THE InfoMoney explained why Pix can be an interesting tool for merchants and the impact of the system on acquiring companies and card brands (learn more here).

On Twitter, some users signaled that Mercado Pago and Nubank were compulsorily registering keys, without asking customers for authorization.

In a note sent to InfoMoney, both companies denied the information and said that the registration procedure is done only with the consent of customers.

“Mercado Pago does not register a Pix key without the user’s consent. The registration flow involves sending a communication through the Mercado Pago application informing the possibility of registering the e-mail keys, CPF / CNPJ, so that the user can choose which one to register. The company also makes the ‘Register Pix keys’ button available on the main screen of the application, from which it is possible to manage Pix keys, and the user can even include or exclude his keys whenever he wants ”, explained the company.

Nubank, in turn, reported that “all keys have been registered with the proper authorization from customers”. “We carefully prepared a practical and simple communication flow and, on October 5th, we sent a request for consent via application to all customers who had pre-registered,” says the note.

In a note released to the press, the BC informed that it continuously monitors and supervises the process of registering Pix keys and that it has already started the formal processes of inspection of participants. “If it detects irregularities in these processes, including any improper registration, the Central Bank will punish violators under the terms of the current regulation,” says the text.

Worse for the big banks?

Martins, from ABFintechs, points out that in addition to the user profile and experience, banks also face difficulties with the technological infrastructure. “Large institutions have a technological legacy and it is difficult to innovate in this area. On the first day of registration, customers from the top five banks reported instability in access. In most fintechs, that didn’t happen ”, he points out.

Marco Zanini, from Dinamo Networks, says that banks took longer to engage with the idea of ​​the Pix ecosystem: “From January to here, we noticed most of the big banks a little hesitant about Pix. There were some uncertainties about the system and they were cautious. At the beginning of August, we began to see a greater movement on the part of banks in their position on Pix. The fintechs have worked more intensively to publicize the subject since the beginning of the year ”, he says.

Despite the difficulties, Diniz does not believe that it is possible to believe that the big banks will be left behind when it comes to implementing Pix. “It is too early to be deterministic in this sense, as there is still the possibility that this number will revert over time. I understand that the user base of the big banks may take longer to join Pix and start using the system, given the large discrepancy in numbers at the first moment ”, he says.

Zanini, in turn, says that this is only the “first round” and that the banks may be fighting in a more strategic way.

“From the point of view of financial institutions, Pix is ​​the means by which funds will be received that will be placed in their management portfolio. For this reason, having the keys in your domains is crucial, and in terms of the volume of entries, the fintechs were strengthened ”, he says.

And he adds: “However, I believe that large banks are more focused on the financial volume arising from these keys. The focus is on capturing CPFs and, especially, CNPJs, thinking of large companies. I can’t say yet, but there is an expectation that people will move more money through these two keys and use their cell phones and e-mail, for example, for more trivial transactions ”, evaluates Zanini.

Therefore, according to him, having the key of a private client registered, for example, should generate a greater volume of money to be transacted. “And the target audience for most fintechs is not that. From this perspective, big banks can win, ”he says.

Still, according to Martins, it is worth remembering that the revenue from transfer fees for TEDs and DOCs, which banks will leave on the table, is small.

“Pix will bring new players, increase the cake and divide it into more pieces. Competition will increase and fintechs will have more firepower. But I don’t think banks will lose out because the fees charged in TED and DOC do not represent a relevant part of the revenue. Credit is much more crucial and Pix can facilitate and reduce costs in granting credit as institutions are creating solutions in this regard, for example, ”adds Martins.

War of the keys

The initial panorama released by the BC serves as a parameter to understand how financial institutions are fighting for Pix keys, which have become the main instrument for attracting and maintaining customers in the Pix ecosystem.

An InfoMoney report showed that, in practice, with the arrival of the new system, the payment itself becomes a commodity. In other words, it will no longer matter what the payment method is, but if the account the customer is using is integrated with Pix – and this is where keys gain importance.

In practice, the key serves to identify the user within the system. Each individual can have up to 5 different keys registered per financial institution, in the case of legal entities the limit goes up to 20 keys per account. It is not allowed to repeat the same key for different accounts because the code will act as the delivery address for the transaction values.

The keys can be the CPF / CNPJ, cell number, e-mail or a random key. The registration of keys in the system, through financial institutions, started on the last day 5.

Bruno Diniz explains that the so-called “war of the keys” is a dispute to guarantee a lasting relationship with the customer. “It is through the account that the financial institution will offer consumers new products, services and will monetize its operation. The end customer must increasingly use the solutions of the bank where he registered his main key for the convenience of centralizing everything in one place ”, he explains.

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