Neon, a millennial-targeting smartphone-based bank that uses facial recognition technology to authenticate its customers, has launched in Brazil.
The brainchild of 24 year old entrepreneur Pedro Conrade, Neon is an app-based banking service that promises to let young Brazilians leave behind the frustrations of branches, bureaucracy and hidden fees.
Says Conrade: "My distaste with the traditional banking model started after a disastrous experience during international travel where my bank didn’t bother to help me through a tough situation. It was then that I realised I was just another number to them."
The bank's iOS and Android app uses biometric facial recognition technology from US vendor Daon so that customers can ditch usernames and passwords and log in and authenticate transactions by taking selfies with their phones.
The app will have the usual features associated with mobile banking, allowing users to check their their balance, make transfers, pay bills, receive payments, categorise their spending habits, and create financial goals. Members also get two Visa-branded debit cards - a physical one for real-world purchases and a virtual one for online payments.
As it aims to sign up 100,000 users across Brazil in its first year, Neon is also stressing that the bank will bid to help customers with their finances by charging no monthly or annual fees, flat rates for interbank transfer transactions, and offering no lines of credit.
"Most people who get into debt with credit cards are just a month late paying their bills. They just need to better organise themselves financially. At Neon, we want to help our customers save money and live within their means by making purchases with money they already have in the bank rather than amassing additional debt and paying off cards in monthly installments," says Conrade.