Argentina's Wilobank uses smartphone tech to reach the unbanked

By Folake Dosu  |  March 9, 2019

fintech-argentina-wilobank

Digital banks are transforming financial services around the world and the Latin American market is heating up with the emergence of these challenger banks, PYMNTS.com reports.

“Their smartphone-centric financial services approaches do not require customers to visit physical bank branches, and delivering accessible financial services via smartphones could make Latin America a ripe market for challenger banks,” the outlet explains.

Argentinian fintech startup Wilobank (formerly Wanap) utilizes a combination of motion-based biometrics and smartphone-based KYC review to verify new account holders. 

“We were born because the old system is dying. If you go to a physical bank, you have to deal with paperwork, and it takes a lot of time and you have to answer a lot of questions. You can lose several days [onboarding] a client to the bank.” 

“We were born because the old system is dying,” Wilobank’s president Guillermo Francos said in an interview with PYMNTS. “If you go to a physical bank, you have to deal with paperwork, and it takes a lot of time and you have to answer a lot of questions. You can lose several days [onboarding] a client to the bank.” 

As speedy as digital banking can be, onboarding still must maintain integrity and technology helps Wilobank achieve approval from Argentina’s central bank. Customers opening a new account are asked to take pictures of official Argentinian identification documents, such as driver’s licenses. After uploading these images, they are then required to perform basic physical movements in front of their cameras to confirm their identity.

“We compare the snapshots taken in that process to make sure they are a human being and compare that with the photo on the ID,” systems director Mariano Durán said to PYMNTS.com.

In addition to this innovation, Wilobank also uses a variety of data points to assess the creditworthiness of customers that traditional banks would refuse to service.

“Traditional banks … are used to avoiding risk,” Francos said to PYMNTS.com. “They are oriented to have clients … who have a certain incomes and who they can [count on] to be good clients.” 

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