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Germany’s N26 eyes South America market with Brazil launch

Germany’s banking start-up N26, which is already live in 24 countries across the eurozone including the UK, is to launch in Brazil.

It will be the second overseas market after the US for the fintech challenger, which has ambitions to become a “truly global bank” and will make N26 the first of Europe’s biggest retail digital banks to target the South American market.

N26 announced last November that it had attracted 2 million customers and says that the total has since reached says that it now has 2.5 million. It has processed €20 billion in transaction volume since its creation in 2013, and customers currently hold more than €1 billion in N26 accounts.

The bank is already set to enter the US by mid-2019, alongside competitor bank Revolut. N26 closed a $300 million (£225 million) funding round last month led by US venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners, which valued the company at $2.7 billion and made it Europe’s most valuable fintech start-up.

Local competition

N26 announced its planned expansion into Brazil at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It named as its head of the new region Eduardo Prota, who has previously worked for Santander, recruitment group Cielo and various start-ups.,

“Millions of people in Brazil are suffering from bad banking experiences and high fees,” said Prota. “We think that money management should not be a time consuming and frustrating experience.

“N26 has been designed to simplify banking and will empower people in Brazil to take control of their finances.”

N26’s main competition in Brazil has been identified as local digital bank Nubank, which is already well established. Nubank has raised more than $700 million to date and claims to have attracted more than 5 million customers.

The German bank is also ensuring that it is adequately funded for its forthcoming launch in the US, where it will be competing with the biggest retail banks such as JP Morgan and Bank of America – both of which have launched their own mobile-only banking offerings to compete with digital start-ups.

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