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Watch out Nubank? Ank marks Itaú’s foray into fintech

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Itaú, Brazil’s second-largest bank, has ventured into the world of fintech with its launch of an app called Ank. The goal of the app is simple: trying to help consumers keep track of their various bank accounts in one central location.

The idea is that Ank is a consumer’s first port of call whenever they need to make any financial transaction. Users hand over all their logins and passwords to Ank and then let the app do all the heavy lifting when it actually comes to transacting with those bank accounts in any way.

That definitely beats searching for hours to try to find that random password to the bank account you set up when you were a kid every time you need to check your balance!

Leonardo Rubenstein, CEO of Ank, says that his team noticed that many fintech startups across Latin America were focused on young people and those who weren’t formally involved in the banking system.

Ank, on the other hand, doesn’t involve a new account or card. Rather, it offers a better way to manage the accounts its users currently have.

Ank isn’t just saving consumers’ time with logins. It’s making sending money easier. You don’t even need to know the recipient’s account number. All you need is their mobile number or email address, and Ank will ensure that the payment goes through without a hitch.

Banking fresh take from Brazilian giant Itaú

Rubenstien underscores Ank’s focus on the user as central to the creation of the app. This is a breath of fresh air compared to the traditional banking experience, especially in Latin America: long queues, short opening hours, and grumpy clerks.

But why would one of Brazil’s biggest banks bother to create this app? Perhaps they’re feeling the pressure from the rise of fintech. There’s definitely something to it.

In fact, we at Contxto have been covering the fintech wave rippling across the continent and are bullish on its opportunities for growth (stay tuned for much more fintech content to come!).

Fintech’s not going anywhere. And the major players like Itaú know they need to get their act together to be an attractive option for Gen-Zers and Millennials.

In order to stand out in this crowded marketplace of abundant financial products, they realize it’s crucial to provide top-notch digital offerings. And Ank represents a first step in that direction.

Unbundling fintech = drowning in choices?

Ank is fighting the good fight for consumers dealing with a tangled web of accounts and banking services. Ironically though, Ank could be adding to the problem by providing yet another app with more services and a new password to remember.

To answer that question, let’s talk about ‘unbundling.’ This term refers to the idea that consumers no longer have to buy an expensive bundle of services but can rather purchase these à la carte

In the context of the media, unbundling means picking exactly what TV stations you want. In the travel sector, it translates to cheap airline tickets with lots of add-ons for things like baggage and seat selection.

In fintech, unbundling might mean using one bank account because its app works well while using another because it offers high yield saving accounts and yet another because its credit card comes with good perks. 

This is way different than how banks have traditionally worked (for most of our parents’ and grandparents’ time), where consumers had less choice and often just chose the bank that was most conveniently located.

Meaningful choice is undoubtedly a step forward. But at what point are consumers inundated with choices? Ank is trying to streamline services in the fintech craze, which is definitely noble. Might they be inadvertently adding to the core problem at hand?



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