Brazil-based Via Varejo has partnered with Airfox, the local subsidiary of US tech venture CarrierEQ, to develop digital payments solutions.
The agreement, which grants the Brazilian retailer the option to acquire up to 80% of Airfox by 2021, will potentially extend Via Varejo’s mobile financial services to 60 million users across the country.
Both firms will create an app that will allow users to make payments at Via Varejo’s – owned by one of Brazil’s largest food retailers, GPA – stores called Casas Bahia.
The plans are part of Airfox’s “mission to provide more than two billion unbanked people in emerging markets with mobile access to financial services. The Airfox app, available on Android, eliminates the need for traditional financial institutions and enables unbanked users without credit access to critical financial services”.
Airfox’s lending system runs on the AirToken (AIR) platform, an ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum blockchain.
Affordable financial solutions for millions
“Nearly one thousand of Via Varejo’s Casa Bahia stores will support the Airfox digital banking platform, providing millions of underserved Brazilian families access to Airfox’s affordable financial solutions,” says Airfox in a press release.
“Underserved consumers now have an easy, fast, and cost-free way to complete daily financial tasks such as buying goods, paying bills, transferring money, and recharging public transit cards using their mobile phones,” it adds.
The Airfox app allows users to deposit and withdraw money at any Casas Bahia store or through 200,000 other offline locations, including post offices, banks, and ATMs. Users will also be allowed to pay their Casa Bahias credit card bills directly through the app instead of having to walk into a store as they currently do.
Democratising financial services
“Our partnership with Via Varejo supports our mission to democratise financial services for the Brazilian population currently underserved by financial institutions,” says Airfox CEO and Co-Founder Victor Santos.
The Airfox mobile digital wallet will be soon be offered in other emerging markets. The firm believes it will help drive mainstream crypto adoption via its platform.
Via Varejo is present in more than 400 municipalities across 20 Brazilian states and the Federal District. It manages nearly 1,000 shops and serves 68% of Brazil’s population and reports $6.3 billion in sales in 2017. It also averages a million home deliveries a month.