Nubank: Brasil’s Favorite Virtual Bank

June 15, 2020
Brasil
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Nubank is the biggest virtual bank in Brasil with at least 20.000.000 users at the moment of writing. It focuses on giving you greater control over your finances while escaping annual fees, bureaucracy and overall bad service. Nubank offers unlimited TEDs, DOCs and deposits into your account while providing the opportunity to have a free digital account eligible for a debit and a credit card.

On the downsides, Nubank also offers a credit card, but it’s fairly difficult to get it if you don’t have a good credit score. Also, each withdrawal costs R$6,50 per transaction and there’s a loyalty rewards program for the credit cards that has a monthly fee of R$19.

Either way, Nubank offers a digital account focused on detailing how much control you can really have over your money while providing the service without annuities or fees. If you’re simply looking to escape the bureaucracy from traditional banks with a great digital account and the chance to have an international gold or platinum credit card, you’re in the right place. So, why not apply for Nubank right now?

Tired of feeling like you’re not in control of your money and your finances? We’re here to tell you how to fix that and how it’s beneficial for you and for anyone else who’s struggling to control their finances. The solution we’re going to be talking about in this article is Nubank, a virtual bank whose popularity has risen above all others. Ready to know why Nubank, or Roxinho, is so popular these days?

What Is Nubank And How Does It Work?

Nubank is a Brasilian Financial technology startup that was created back in 2013. This virtual bank originated as a direct response to Brasil having the highest interest rates in America. Nubank’s motivation is to offer complete control over their finances to Brasil customers. All of this without having to depend on horrible fees you were never meant to understand.

One year after the company was created, Nubank offered its first product, a credit card without annuities. This card was available through and depended on an app that you could download without any cost or fees. What was revolutionary was the fact that you didn’t need to create an account with any other bank or pay an annual fee. Since then, every year that passed Nubank started gaining more and more popularity.

It wasn’t until 2017 that Nubank started offering an ample variety of products in that same category. It’s in that year that Nubank created the NuConta, or the Nubank digital account, which in turn made the virtual bank more famous. A year later the institution also introduced the debit card and following that, personal loans.

Today Nubank is known as one of the biggest Fintech startups in the whole world. It’s only some steps away from the biggest virtual banks in Europe and Asia. That’s because they offer a great variety of products destined to make your financial life easier. Here’s the complete list of what you can get with Nubank:

  • Full-on payments account free of monthly or annual fees that yield more than a savings account.
  • Debit card without annuities or secret fees.
  • International credit card without annuities or monthly fees.
  • Gold and Platinum credit cards.
  • Mastercard Surprise and other Mastercard benefits.
  • Unique investment opportunities.
  • Personal loans.
  • Unlimited TEDs, DOCs and deposits.
  • Withdrawals at Banco24Horas and Saque e Pague network.
  • Loyalty rewards program.
  • Salary portability.
  • Great customer service and the benefit of knowing you’re finally in control of your finances.
nubank payment card credit digital account
Using your Nubank cards is as simple as it gets

With that out of the way, let’s delve into the specifics of how Nubank works. Ready to start learning more about it?

Nubank Card: Debit And Credit With No Annual Fees

This virtual bank started offering a credit card way back in 2014. Now in 2020, it offers both credit and debit options. Although they both differ in benefits and the ways to get them, so let’s get into that.

Nubank Mastercard Debit Card

This was one of the latest additions to the Nubank repertoire of products. It was added because people wanted Nubank to be a more complete banking institution. This in turn was done so clients could completely abandon other traditional banks. The virtual bank then complied and made the debit card a reality.

This card doesn’t come with any other variants as the credit card does and it comes with basic debit benefits. The Nubank debit card is used to offer access to both physical purchases and withdrawals. Remember that to make a purchase with your debit card you need to have balance in your account before doing so.

There are no extra fees when using your debit card in physical purchases while also avoiding annuities. Every account holder in this bank is entitled to one debit card free of charge, but it doesn’t come with the account. In order to have it, you need to ask for it via the app.

Nubank Mastercard Credit Card

This is where things get divisive, since not every account holder is entitled to a credit card. In order to apply for it, you will need to go through a credit analysis, aside from the cadastral analysis needed for the NuConta.

Once your credit card application is approved, depending on your credit score, you’ll get one of two versions. The one you’re most likely to get is the Gold credit card, but the other one you can get is the Platinum card. There are not many differences between each one, but some of those are still worth pointing out. Take a look:

Gold Credit Card

The gold credit card is the one most people get when they ask for a credit card with Nubank. Remember that Nubank is known for rewarding responsible spending and not just having a higher income. This card also comes with certain limits depending on your financial profile. But the digital account normally lets you apply for a limit increase in an easy way.

Here are also the additional Mastercard benefits that come with the gold credit card:

  • Price protection insurance.
  • Shopping protection insurance.
  • Original extended warranty.
  • Mastercard Surprise.
  • Global service.
  • Mastercard special offers.

This is a fairly run of the mill credit card with the benefit of being anchored to a great digital account. Even though this card does require a credit analysis, it doesn’t have a minimum income requirement. It’s also exempt from annuities and monthly fees.

Platinum Credit Card

The platinum credit card is what Nubank offers to clients who have a really good credit score. The thing is, you can’t apply for this card even if you wanted to. Once your credit card application is sent, Nubank will determine if you’re eligible for the Gold or Platinum card. This card comes with higher limits than the previous card, but they’re still adjustable.

Here are the Mastercard benefits that the platinum credit card offers:

  • Priceless Cities.
  • Mastercard Travel Rewards.
  • Mastercard Airport Concierge.
  • Global Emergency Assistance.
  • Travel Assistant.
  • Mastercard Platinum Concierge.
  • Travel medical emergency insurance.
  • Auto Insurance.
  • Stopper Exemption.
  • Mastercard Surprise.
  • Special offers.

As you can see, most of the credit cards’ benefits come from Mastercard and not from Nubank itself. This makes the Nubank credit cards somewhat simple when compared to others in the market. But that does not make the whole Nubank package simple at all. Here’s another exclusive feature that can be used with these credit cards.

credit card debit credito nubank
All cards have similar and recognizable purple design

Nubank Rewards

This feature is a loyalty rewards program unique to the Nubank credit cards. It consists of a program that rewards you and lets you have the freedom to use your points on airline tickets, and products or services you actually use. Also, the points you accumulate will never expire, so you can save them up for as long as you want.

You can earn 1 point per each R$1 spent on the Nubank credit card. You’re also able to use these points to eliminate expenses from any establishment classified as a partner. Some of these partners include restaurants, Smiles Miles and even services like Netflix, Spotify and more. For every 100 points you accumulate you can erase R$1 in restaurant or partner services. While instead for every 80 points you accumulate, you can erase R$1 spent or air tickets.

Nubank Rewards is also associated with another loyalty rewards program called Smiles Miles. When transferring to Smiles, each 4 Rewards points become 1 mile. Considering the tourism dollar (which currently equals approximately R $ 5.40), 1 mile per dollar spent can be considered.

The only caveat to Nubank Rewards is that it’s a paid membership only available to the credit card users. And you do have to opt-in before benefiting from it. The program has a total cost of R$19 x 12 or R$190 per year if you pay for it upfront. Nubank only recommends it for credit card users who spend more than R$1.600 on a monthly basis, though. At that point in spending is where the program really starts to benefit the users. Otherwise, you’ll be spending quite a lot on the membership without properly benefitting from the program.

Credit Card Fees And Interest rates

Even though these credit cards are free from annuities, you still have to keep in mind that they can bite you with their interest rates. Even though Nubank’s cards aren’t particularly harmful, if you’re late or get in debt with your invoice, you can end up in a pretty bad spot. Here are all the interest rates you can find with these credit cards and other features:

  • Revolving credit interest: 2,75% – 14% per month.
  • Invoice installment interest: 0,99% – 13,75% per month.
  • In case of installment delay: 1,99% – 15,00% per month.
  • Personal loans: From 0,95% per month.
  • Late Fine: 2%
  • Dollar reference: PTAX (Commercial Dollar) + 4%
  • IOF; 6,38%

With that out of the way, let’s start talking about the main benefit of the Nubank digital account:

Nubank Digital Account, Formerly NuConta

Here’s where we find ourselves with most of the meat of this article, the Nubank digital account. First of all, it’s important to know that this digital account is neither a saving nor a checking account, it’s a payments account. The aim of this account is to let users have a place where they know their money is safe. This in turn lets you check how exactly your money is being spent.

With the digital account, you have access to features like the following:

  • Unlimited TEDs, DOCs and deposits.
  • Withdrawals at Banco24Horas Networks (Each one costs R$6,50).
  • Investing opportunities.
  • Loan opportunities.
  • Salary portability.
  • Special features unique to Nubank.

The aim of this digital account is to escape both the bureaucracy and fees from traditional banks. Nubank simply offers a way to understand and handle your finances as no other virtual bank does.

Nuconta digital account virtual bank
Keep reading to learn all about the Nubank digital account!

So, without further ado, let’s delve into the specific features of what is probably one of the best virtual accounts in Brasil.

Transfers, Deposits And Withdrawals

The cool thing about Nubank is that they focus on being as transparent as possible with how your finances are handled. As this is an escape from bureaucracy, the Nubank digital account offers everything a traditional bank account does. This includes being able to transfer money for free between Nubank and other bank accounts. You’re also able to make unlimited free deposits into your Nubank account.

The caveat to the Nubank digital account is that it only charges for withdrawals, which receive a charge of R$6,50. Nubank attributes this to the fee that is charged directly by Banco24Horas ATM networks and not as a fee they impose. Either way, it’s quite a fee to have in mind if you’re constantly handling cash in your spending habits.

With that out of the way, let’s get a little bit more in-depth in the digital account features:

Investments

One of the main benefits of the Nubank digital account is that any amount of money you’re holding in your account automatically starts paying interest. It basically offers a paying interest of 100% of the Interbank Deposit Rate (CDI) per working day.

Investing in Nubank is as easy as it can get, but in 2019 Nubank introduced another way to invest in your account. The RDBs or Nubank Bank Deposit Receipts are a new way in which you can invest instead of having your money in your payments account. The difference between RDBs and the daily payments account earning rate is that RDBs have coverage from the Credit Guarantee Fund (FGC). This leaves Nubank users with a safer way to invest while still having the same earnings as before.

investment investimentos savings payments account
Generating an interest earning rate only needs for you to have money into your account.

Now let’s head into one of the latest features added to the Nubank repertoire:

Personal Loans: Zero Complications And Transparency

This is the latest feature that was added to the Nubank digital account but it’s still in the testing phase. At the moment of writing, not everyone can apply for a loan. The only way to know if you’re eligible is to go to your Nubank app and check if the loan button is greyed out or not on your home screen.

What we do know about these loans is that you can extensively simulate how your loan would go before making a big decision. You can check how much the interest rate is going to be and in how many installments you can pay. Normally you can choose to pay your loan in either 1 and 24 installments with an interest rate starting from 0,95% per month.

With this done, let’s talk about the last unique feature of Nubank before we draw any conclusions:

Charge: The Easiest Way To Remind Your Friends To Pay You

As Nubank’s motto is to simplify your life, the charge feature arrives to do just that. The charge feature is specially designed for casual meetings where you invite your friends to eat at a restaurant or in your house. It consists of you creating a specific QR code and link that your friends can scan to transfer any amount of money to your account. Nubank users can scan the code to transfer instantly while other bank users can use the link to copy your bank information and transfer.

charge feature QR code link transfers
With the charge feature you won’t need to clumsily depend on account numbers and other data

Now that we’ve covered most of the products you can get as a Nubank user, let’s talk about the not so good aspects of it.

Nubank Drawbacks: Long Waiting Times

The first and foremost drawback we can attribute to Nubank is the fact that since it’s so popular, a lot of people are applying for an account. This means that the volume of people is so absolutely gigantic that it takes them a lot of time to read all the applications. As you’ve been reading this post, there are probably 100 people who have already applied for an account. This means that you will have to wait a really long time just to know if your application has been accepted or denied.

Here are some of the less important drawbacks that are still worth mentioning:

  • Being an account holder doesn’t mean you’re entitled to a credit card.
  • Credit cards don’t have that many benefits and are very simple when compared to their equivalents in the market.
  • The loyalty rewards program requires an annuity of R$19 per month or R$190 if you pay for it upfront.
  • Credit cards are some of the most difficult to get since they require a good credit score and thorough credit analysis.
  • Loans are still in a testing phase and not available for every user on the platform.
  • There’s only one option when it comes to investing, whereas other popular virtual banks offer more.
  • Withdrawals aren’t free and have a cost of R$6,50.

Alternatives to Nubank

We know that Nubank is the most popular virtual bank in Brasil as of the moment of writing this review. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it might be the bank you’re looking for. In this sense, if you’re looking for a credit card that’s easier to get, a digital account with unlimited features or a robust investment platform, there are always alternatives out there. Here are some of our favourites:

Banco Neon And The Neon Card

Nubank and Neon are almost always compared to each other because of how similar they are. The truth is that Neon offers up to 4 free withdrawals on your monthly allowance. Other than that, Neon offers a debit card that can unlock its credit features depending on your spending habits. They also offer a similar investing platform to Nubank with only one option to invest in.

You can read more about Banco Neon and the Neon Card in this review.

C6 Bank, A Premium Option

C6 is another bank that can’t stop standing out. It offers unlimited transfers, withdrawals and deposits, but it doesn’t stop there. It also offers a unique loyalty rewards program with a free version, an international account in Dollars and other unique features. C6 also offers debit and credit cards, but the caveat to their most special credit card, the C6 Carbon, is that it’s subject to an annuity fee. It’s a great option, but it’s often considered as a bank for people with higher incomes than minimum wage.

You can read more about C6 Bank in this review.

Banco Inter And Cartao Inter

This bank offers unlimited transfers, withdrawals and deposits. It also offers an international account and probably the most complete investment platform in Brasil. It offers a Gold debit Mastercard to every new account holder. Then it offers the option to upgrade to a credit card which is subject to what probably is the most rigorous credit analysis in Brasil. Inter is the bank that offers the most complete banking platform, but their rigidity with credit cards might be a turn-off for most.

You can read more about Banco Inter in this review.

Banco Pan And The Cartao Pan

If instead of a regular digital account you’re looking for a more instant way to obtain a credit card, Banco Pan might be the right option for you. You can get a multitude of credit cards as soon as your application is accepted. The best part? You can get a credit card with zero annuities and a very competent digital account once you’re a customer of this bank.

You can read more about Banco Pan and its card in this review.

Nubank: In Summary

We can’t really deny that Nubank is the most popular virtual bank in all of Brasil, But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best out there. Its focus is set upon giving you more control about your finances while escaping bureaucracy and fees, and that’s exactly what it does.

If you’re looking for one of the most transparent and easy to work with digital accounts in Brasil, this is probably what you’re looking for. Getting an account does not require a credit analysis, but who knows, you might also be eligible for the credit card, so why not try applying either way?

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