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Airfox Teams with Mastercard and Zurich Insurance in Digital Banking Service Expansion



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Airfox, a startup providing transformative financial services to emerging markets, today announced a partnership with Mastercard Brazil that vastly extends the availability of affordable and cost-free banking solutions with 1% cashback to customers. Building its digital challenger bank built on the principles of financial inclusion and trust, Airfox has secured three additional major partnerships  — Mastercard, Cielo, and Zurich Insurance  — that expand on its existing partnership with Brazil retail giant Via Varejo. The new Airfox contracts exceed US$77 million(BRL$300 million).

“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.”

Fintech evolution

Targeting emerging economies, Airfox is successfully executing on a mission to shift the financial paradigm toward greater inclusion with banQi, it’s free and flexible Brazillian banking service designed to accommodate every socioeconomic status. Leveraging new partnerships with Mastercard, Cielo, and Zurich Insurance, Airfox is enhancing and extending banQi functionality to provide greater financial services access to enormous and chronically underserved populations in Brazil.

Airfox worked with strategic partner Via Varejo, a leading Brazilian retailer, to evolve its digital wallet into a challenger bank announced on June 5, 2019. According to Reuters: “Stocks in Sao Paulo climbed 0.6% on broad-based gains last week. Electronics and appliance retailer Via Varejo was the top gainer, up 4%, after it launched a digital bank on Wednesday targeting low-income clients in partnership with Boston-based startup Airfox.”

In partnership with Mastercard Brazil, banQi clients will have access to digital and physical prepaid cards that can be used for online and offline purchases. Unlike traditional debit and credit cards, customers can qualify for banQi without a formal credit history and do not need to open a bank account at a brick-and-mortar establishment. Available fall 2019, the Airfox Mastercard feature will also make cash more conveniently accessible by allowing banQi clients to withdraw cash directly from most ATMs in Brazil.

“This strategic partnership with Airfox provides not only convenience 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.

Later this year, Airfox’s digital challenger bank will be available in all 800+ Casas Bahia stores across Brazil. banQi clients will have the ability to deposit and withdraw money at any of Via Varejo’s Casas Bahia stores located in 400 cities. The Airfox cash-back Mastercard provides users with an easy and straightforward way to recoup 1% of everything they buy. To help banQi clients build savings effortlessly, customers also will earn cashback on money stored in their banQi digital wallets.

“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.”

Mobile payment partnership

Airfox also announced a partnership with CieloLatin America’s largest credit and debit payment processor that covers 99% of Brazilian territory. The partnership with Cielo enables banQi clients to pay for purchases via mobile device using QR codes. “For Cielo, this is a big step in our mission to be more inclusive,” said Paulo Caffarelli, president, Cielo. “The QR code acts as a barcode, which banQi users can scan with their smartphones to pay for purchases instantly.”

The banQi platform integrates with more than 1.2 million convenient Cielo point-of-sale (POS) locations in stores and retailers across Brazil. In addition to simplifying payments, banQi also offers cashback on purchases made via Cielo QR codes. “Providing convenience and choice to the financially underserved is in our Airfox DNA,” said Gustavo Ribeiro, president of Brazil, Airfox. “With the Cielo partnership, Airfox is giving our clients instant access to more than one million merchants all over the country.”

Accessible insurance for emerging economies

“This opportunity sets the stage for Airfox to supply customers with an innovative way to purchase insurance via the banQi mobile application, allowing more people to access and benefit from insurance services,” said Douglas Lopes, global financial advisor, Airfox.

Zurich Insurance, one of the world’s largest and most progressive insurers, already holds a multi-year partnership with Via Varejo to bring a diverse portfolio of digital insurance products to banQi customers  — such as lending insurance, unemployment insurance, mobile phone insurance, and life insurance. With growth-enabling regulation increasing insurance penetration in emerging markets, Airfox seized on the opportunity to extend a social safety net for its banQi community.

“Insurance is extremely important to safeguard the material achievements of individuals in this segment, and the digital platform will help broaden the reach to that sort of protection,” said Edson Franco, chief executive officer of Brazil, Zurich Insurance.

banQi: The digital challenger bank for all Brazilians

In Brazil, anywhere from 10–25% or more of an average person’s income can go towards banking-related expenses every month. To accelerate financial inclusion, Airfox aims to provide an array of financial services at a fraction of the cost of traditional banks, using three complementary core technology pillars: blockchain, machine learning, and mobile. banQi is intended to provide free and simple financial services to all Brazilians.

banQi is the only digital bank in Brazil launching 1,000 offline physical “bank branches” in Casas Bahia stores to reach the underserved in local communities. With 80,000 downloads of the Airfox app via Google Play prior to banQi rollout, Airfox has successfully differentiated itself from competitors by establishing global and hyperlocal partnerships that conveniently integrate Airfox into the day-to-day lives of its customers (with more coming soon). Over the next six months, Airfox plans to grow its teams in both Boston and Brazil to execute on its mission of providing high-quality, no-cost financial services to millions of Brazilians.

“These high-impact partnerships and accessible service enhancements represent strategic milestones toward achieving our goal of extending financial inclusion to millions globally,” added Victor Santos. “Today Brazil, tomorrow the rest of Latin America.”


How to identify authenticity in crypto influencer channels




Modern brands stake on influencer marketing, with 76% of users making a purchase after seeing a product on social media.The cryptocurrency industry is no exception to this trend. However, promoting crypto products through influencer marketing can be particularly challenging. Crypto influencers pose a significant risk to a brand’s reputation and ROI due to rampant scams. Approximately 80% of channels provide fake statistics, including followers counts and engagement metrics. Additionally, this niche is characterized by high CPMs, which can increase the risk of financial loss for brands.

In this article Nadia Bubennnikova, Head of agency Famesters, will explore the most important things to look for in crypto channels to find the perfect match for influencer marketing collaborations.



There are several levels related to this point.



Analyze approximately 10 of the channel’s latest videos, looking through the comments to ensure they are not purchased from dubious sources. For example, such comments as “Yes sir, great video!”; “Thanks!”; “Love you man!”; “Quality content”, and others most certainly are bot-generated and should be avoided.

Just to compare: 


Don’t rush to conclude that you’ve discovered the perfect crypto channel just because you’ve come across some logical comments that align with the video’s topic. This may seem controversial, but it’s important to dive deeper. When you encounter a channel with logical comments, ensure that they are unique and not duplicated under the description box. Some creators are smarter than just buying comments from the first link that Google shows you when you search “buy YouTube comments”. They generate topics, provide multiple examples, or upload lists of examples, all produced by AI. You can either manually review the comments or use a script to parse all the YouTube comments into an Excel file. Then, add a formula to highlight any duplicates.


It is also a must to check the names of the profiles that leave the comments: most of the bot-generated comments are easy to track: they will all have the usernames made of random symbols and numbers, random first and last name combinations, “Habibi”, etc. No profile pictures on all comments is also a red flag.



Another important factor to consider when assessing comment authenticity is the posting date. If all the comments were posted on the same day, it’s likely that the traffic was purchased.


2. Average views number per video

This is indeed one of the key metrics to consider when selecting an influencer for collaboration, regardless of the product type. What specific factors should we focus on?

First & foremost: the views dynamics on the channel. The most desirable type of YouTube channel in terms of views is one that maintains stable viewership across all of its videos. This stability serves as proof of an active and loyal audience genuinely interested in the creator’s content, unlike channels where views vary significantly from one video to another.

Many unauthentic crypto channels not only buy YouTube comments but also invest in increasing video views to create the impression of stability. So, what exactly should we look at in terms of views? Firstly, calculate the average number of views based on the ten latest videos. Then, compare this figure to the views of the most recent videos posted within the past week. If you notice that these new videos have nearly the same number of views as those posted a month or two ago, it’s a clear red flag. Typically, a YouTube channel experiences lower views on new videos, with the number increasing organically each day as the audience engages with the content. If you see a video posted just three days ago already garnering 30k views, matching the total views of older videos, it’s a sign of fraudulent traffic purchased to create the illusion of view stability.


3. Influencer’s channel statistics

The primary statistics of interest are region and demographic split, and sometimes the device types of the viewers.


When reviewing the shared statistics, the first step is to request a video screencast instead of a simple screenshot. This is because it takes more time to organically edit a video than a screenshot, making it harder to manipulate the statistics. If the creator refuses, step two (if only screenshots are provided) is to download them and check the file’s properties on your computer. Look for details such as whether it was created with Adobe Photoshop or the color profile, typically Adobe RGB, to determine if the screenshot has been edited.


After confirming the authenticity of the stats screenshot, it’s crucial to analyze the data. For instance, if you’re examining a channel conducted in Spanish with all videos filmed in the same language, it would raise concerns to find a significant audience from countries like India or Turkey. This discrepancy, where the audience doesn’t align with regions known for speaking the language, is a red flag.

If we’re considering an English-language crypto channel, it typically suggests an international audience, as English’s global use for quality educational content on niche topics like crypto. However, certain considerations apply. For instance, if an English-speaking channel shows a significant percentage of Polish viewers (15% to 30%) without any mention of the Polish language, it could indicate fake followers and views. However, if the channel’s creator is Polish, occasionally posts videos in Polish alongside English, and receives Polish comments, it’s important not to rush to conclusions.

Example of statistics


Wrapping up

These are the main factors to consider when selecting an influencer to promote your crypto product. Once you’ve launched the campaign, there are also some markers to show which creators did bring the authentic traffic and which used some tools to create the illusion of an active and engaged audience. While this may seem obvious, it’s still worth mentioning. After the video is posted, allow 5-7 days for it to accumulate a basic number of views, then check performance metrics such as views, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), signups, and conversion rate (CR) from clicks to signups.

If you overlooked some red flags when selecting crypto channels for your launch, you might find the following outcomes: channels with high views numbers and high CTRs, demonstrating the real interest of the audience, yet with remarkably low conversion rates. In the worst-case scenario, you might witness thousands of clicks resulting in zero to just a few signups. While this might suggest technical issues in other industries, in crypto campaigns it indicates that the creator engaged in the campaign not only bought fake views and comments but also link clicks. And this happens more often than you may realize.

Summing up, choosing the right crypto creator to promote your product is indeed a tricky job that requires a lot of resources to be put into the search process. 

Author Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency  at Famesters


Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency at Famesters

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Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space





The BIS, along with seven leading central banks and a cohort of private financial firms, has embarked on an ambitious venture known as Project Agorá.

Named after the Greek word for “marketplace,” this initiative stands at the forefront of exploring the potential of tokenisation to significantly enhance the operational efficiency of the monetary system worldwide.

Central to this pioneering project are the Bank of France (on behalf of the Eurosystem), the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Korea, the Bank of Mexico, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These institutions have joined forces under the banner of Project Agorá, in partnership with an extensive assembly of private financial entities convened by the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

At the heart of Project Agorá is the pursuit of integrating tokenised commercial bank deposits with tokenised wholesale central bank money within a unified, public-private programmable financial platform. By harnessing the advanced capabilities of smart contracts and programmability, the project aspires to unlock new transactional possibilities that were previously infeasible or impractical, thereby fostering novel opportunities that could benefit businesses and consumers alike.

The collaborative effort seeks to address and surmount a variety of structural inefficiencies that currently plague cross-border payments. These challenges include disparate legal, regulatory, and technical standards; varying operating hours and time zones; and the heightened complexity associated with conducting financial integrity checks (such as anti-money laundering and customer verification procedures), which are often redundantly executed across multiple stages of a single transaction due to the involvement of several intermediaries.

As a beacon of experimental and exploratory projects, the BIS Innovation Hub is committed to delivering public goods to the global central banking community through initiatives like Project Agorá. In line with this mission, the BIS will soon issue a call for expressions of interest from private financial institutions eager to contribute to this ground-breaking project. The IIF will facilitate the involvement of private sector participants, extending an invitation to regulated financial institutions representing each of the seven aforementioned currencies to partake in this transformative endeavour.

Source: fintech.globa

The post Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud





TD Bank has inked a multi-year deal with Google Cloud as it looks to streamline the development and deployment of new products and services.

The deal will see the Canadian banking group integrate the vendor’s cloud services into a wider portion of its technology solutions portfolio, a move which TD expects will enable it “to respond quickly to changing customer expectations by rolling out new features, updates, or entirely new financial products at an accelerated pace”.

This marks an expansion of the already established relationship between TD Bank and Google Cloud after the group previously adopted the vendor’s Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for TD Securities Automated Trading (TDSAT), the Chicago-based subsidiary of its investment banking unit, TD Securities.

TDSAT uses GKE for process automation and quantitative modelling across fixed income markets, resulting in the development of a “data-driven research platform” capable of processing large research workloads in trading.

Dan Bosman, SVP and CIO of TD Securities, claims the infrastructure has so far supported TDSAT with “compute-intensive quantitative analysis” while expanding the subsidiary’s “trading volumes and portfolio size”.

TD’s new partnership with Google Cloud will see the group attempt to replicate the same level of success across its entire portfolio.


The post TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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