In recent years, Mexico has witnessed a surge in digital banking, with many traditional banks and new entrants offering online and mobile banking services. The rise of fintech companies has also disrupted the traditional banking landscape. These startups provide innovative solutions including mobile wallets, peer-to-peer lending, and digital payment platforms, challenging established banking models—and bringing banking services to underserved populations, including the near-half of Mexican adults (pdf) who do not have a bank account.
Just ask Cristina Junqueira, some of the main muscle behind Nubank, a digital financial services platform that now serves 90 million customers across Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, making it the largest fintech company in Latin America–and now the largest digital bank in the world, period.
The Brazil native and Northwestern MBA left a more traditional (and frustrating) career in high finance to co-found Nubank in 2013, drawn to leveling the playing field for everyday people. The result is a suite of consumer-friendly products aimed at previously underserved populations.
This past year, building off Nubank’s popularity in its home market of Brazil, Junqueira helped launch a new suite of products for Mexican customers. “In Mexico, with our digital savings account Cuenta Nu, we’ve been able to provide customers with innovations that help them make the most of their money,” she explains. Using the digital account, customers can use features like Cajitas—money boxes—to obtain returns as high as 15% annually.
As Junqueira points out, they’re also are built to bolster security. “[T]he amount of money invested in them is not shown alongside the general account balance and cannot be withdrawn in ATMs, nor used for debit card purchases,” she says. After the launch of savings accounts in May, the bank has signed up more than 1.3 million people by the close of its second quarter.
“It’s innovations like these that help free more Mexicans from financial complexity, and help them regain control of their money,” she adds, “resulting in increased responsible financial inclusion in the country.”
This story is part of Quartz’s Innovators List 2023, a series that spotlights the people deploying bold technologies and reimagining the way we do business for good across the globe. Find the full list here.