Superdigital: Santander’s Jump Into Virtual Banking

June 9, 2020
Brasil
Superdigital cover prepaid card cartao virtual bank" class="img-responsive wp-image-731235 wp-post-image" alt="" />
At Yore Oyster, we strive to help you make wise financial decisions. We're committed to giving you the most relevant, actionable advice anywhere.

On the very broadside, Superdigital is one of the most basic digital accounts you can get in the virtual bank scene as of now. With 1 physical and 5 virtual prepaid cards you have access to physical purchases, withdrawals and international/online purchases as well. Do have in mind that all Superdigital’s cards are prepaid, not debit nor credit, so you won’t be able to apply for installments either. Another thing to note is that the digital account can be free if you spend up to R$500 per month, otherwise, you would be spending R$9,90 per month. And lastly, you only get 1 free withdrawal or transfer to another bank per month.

We can only recommend Superdigital for people who are looking for the easiest digital account to open in the current scene. It only asks the user to be of 18 years or older and have a valid CPF. So, if you’re looking for one of the most basic and easiest to open accounts, this is the one.

We’ve all been there in long lines dealing with outrageous fees and not knowing how exactly our money is being handled by traditional banks. For a couple of years as of now, this annoying process has been dwindling with the coming of virtual banks. Even some traditional banks have been jumping into the fray in the last couple of years, just like Santander did with Superdigital. Let’s see how a traditional bank tries to adhere to this new market in Brasil. Ready to go?

What Is Superdigital And What Does It Have To Do With Santander?

Santander is a traditional banking institution that has been around in Brasil for almost 40 years. With the massive appearance of virtual banks, traditional banks have given some thought to participating in this new market. That’s why in 2017 Banco Santander decided to acquire a financial startup called Contasuper. These two entities then consolidated themselves as the virtual bank called Superdigital.

What’s really important to know about Superdigital is that it’s way more lenient than other banks in the scene. Here’s a list of what’s not required in order to open an account with Superdigital:

  • Credit Analysis of any kind (You can apply even if you have a bad credit score).
  • Proof of Income (You don’t need a base monthly income to be eligible).
  • Consultation of Serasa or SPC (Credit Protection Service).

As you can see, Superdigital does not lie at all when it says that this is an “account for everyone”. The only requirements needed to apply for this account are to be of 18 years or older and have a valid CPF (Natural’s Person Register). If you’re looking for the easiest account to open in the virtual bank scene, this is the one. Also, here’s a brief list of the benefits included with the digital account:

  • A physical prepaid card that will let you withdraw and use your balance on physical purchases.
  • Withdrawals at the Banco24Horas ATMs.
  • Receiving and transferring money to and from any bank.
  • 5 Virtual prepaid cards to buy on international websites and apps.
  • Pay your bills directly on your phone.
  • Load your Cell and Single Ticket (Only in Sao Paulo).
Superdigital app virtual bank santander prepaid card cartao
Using Superdigital is pretty simple and straightforward

Now that you have a better idea of what Superdigital is, let’s delve a bit more into the specifics of the Superdigital virtual account, specifically, the cards.

Available Cards In Superdgital

The attractiveness of virtual banks is that you can get the same benefits as with a traditional bank. These benefits are attributed to getting some pretty useful cards out of those banks. And most of these banks have added other features like unlimited transfers and withdrawals. So, let’s talk about one of the most important aspects of the Superdigital virtual account:

The Superdigital Physical Card

Every account holder is entitled to 1 physical card at a time. This card you’ll get following your account’s opening. Once you’ve opened your digital account and deposited any amount of money (It will be available later in your account as balance) your card will be ready to be sent. It usually tends to arrive after 10 working days, but it can be delivered earlier.

How To Use The Physical Card

Using your physical card is simple. The first thing you need to do is have some balance already pre-loaded on your account. Then it’s practically ready for use in any establishment that accepts the MasterCard banner. Do keep in mind that this card is not a debit nor credit card, it’s a prepaid card with credit features. This means that you can use it as a credit card as long there’s available balance preloaded into your account. Also, since this is a prepaid card, you cannot apply for installments in your purchases, which is quite a downfall.

Physical Card Advantages

With the Superdigital physical card, you get the following advantages:

  • No Annual fee (Half-truth, but we’ll get into that later).
  • Interest-Free.
  • No limit on purchases.
  • Prevents leaving your account in negative numbers.
physical card virtual bank
The physical Superdigital card has a delightful purple accent that makes it stand out

Now let’s get into the other cards offered by Superdigital:

The Superdigital Virtual Cards

Every Superdigital account holder is entitled to at least 5 different virtual cards. The virtual cards work as the safest and fastest way to buy things over the internet. Since some online and international establishments don’t accept debit cards, Superdigital’s prepaid virtual cards are the solution for just that. But again, do remember that these virtual cards are prepaid, so you can’t apply for installments while using them.

How To Use The Virtual Cards

The best part about these is that you don’t have to wait for them to arrive at your address, they’re already on your phone. So, let’s see how we can activate these virtual cards once we have opened our account:

  1. Download the Superdigital app.
  2. Deposit money into your account.
  3. Click on “Cards”, then on “Order or associate card”, then select the virtual card option and load with the amount you want to spend.
  4. See your virtual cards data inside the app and use them to purchase whatever you want.

Virtual Card Benefits

  • A more secure platform, since you only load your virtual card with the amount you want to use.
  • You can buy on international sites and apps (Spotify, Netflix, etc) without having a credit card.
  • No annual fee (Again, a half-truth, but we’re about to get into that).
  • No limit on your purchases.
virtual prepaid card cartao
The virtual cards have a much simpler look to it, but that’s only up to you to know!

Now that you’ve seen the specific benefits of each card, let’s set ourselves into a broader perspective. Let’s take a look at the overall benefits of the digital account.

The Superdigital Virtual Account: Actually Not Free

Superdigital markets itself as an “account for everyone” and it really means this with its low-level requirements. This bank also mentions that its digital account is like “current account but without headaches”. But here’s where start to disagree with all the benefits they attribute to this service.

We can’t really talk about the benefits of the digital account without first mentioning an incongruency in Superdigital’s marketing. Throughout this review, we’ve mentioned that Superdigital’s account is free, but this can be true or false in some scenarios. When opening an account you can choose one out of two plans, one for regular customers and another for MEI (Micro-Entrepreneurs). The plan for regular customers “You The Boss Plan” implies the following:

  • Free Annuities (If you’re spending at least R$500 on your card per month), otherwise, it costs R$9,90 per month.
  • 1 Physical Card.
  • 1 Free withdrawal OR transfer to other banks per month.
  • 5 Virtual cards to make purchases over the internet.
  • Other unlimited and free features.

Here’s where the seams of Superdigital’s virtual account start to really come through. As you can see, the virtual account is not completely free. Sure, spending up to R$500 on a monthly basis is not that much, but it certainly isn’t free. Also, giving only 1 withdrawal OR transfer to other banks free per month is just extremely limited. Going on about that same limitation theme, let’s look at how Superdigital manages fees beyond your monthly allowance:

superdigital phone app smartphone android IOS santander virtual bank
While using both your card and your app, you will find a seamless experience as with most virtual banks

Transfer Limits And Fees: Almost Everywhere

Here’s a complete list including monthly allowance and the limits beyond said allowance:

  • Your 1st withdrawal of the month or transfer to other banks: Free
  • Making or receiving deposits to your account: Free
  • 2 Deposits by Boleto: Free
  • Viewing your balance by SMS: Free
  • Transfers to other Superdigitals: Free
  • 1 Copy of physical card: Free
  • First 5 virtual cards: Free
  • Other features: Free
  • Issuing of Balance or Statement at Banco24Horas: R$2,00
  • Withdrawals in Brasil at Banco24Horas: R$6,40
  • Transfer to other banks: R$5,90
  • Extra physical card or duplicate card: R$14,90
  • Withdrawals abroad on the Cirrus Network: R$19,90
  • Billet issuance fee: R$2,90

So as you can see, yes, your Superdigital digital account can be free, but only in certain specific conditions. Even beyond that, it’s not like paying the annuity or meeting the requirements will grant you any special benefits like other virtual bank’s loyalty programs like that of Neon, C6 or even BS2.

Now let’s talk a little bit about some of the other benefits that come with your digital account.

Esfera: Santander’s Loyalty Program

One good thing about Superdigital is that it’s part of a really big name in the bank industry, Santander. Most of Santander’s traditional bank accounts come with the Esfera loyalty rewards program, and Superdigital also does as well, but not completely.

Superdigital users won’t necessarily gain points in the Esfera loyalty rewards program, but they will get special discounts in certain retailers. These discounts will apply just as if you were a regular and traditional Santander customer. So, either way, that’s one of the few good things about this virtual bank.

Let’s talk about the last benefit before we jump to any conclusions:

Loans: One Of The Most Redeeming Qualities

Although there’s not a lot of information about Superdigital’s loans, the service is available for most account holders. These can range from R$500,00 to R$25.000,00, which are some very reasonable limits. They also accept installments of up to 24 months and rates start from 1,6%, which again, is pretty good.

Brasilian real reais money cash loan investment
Thankfully, loans are one of the benefits that can really make Superdigital shine

Now that we’ve covered Superdigital’s main benefits, which are not a lot, let’s head into the main drawbacks:

Superdigital’s Drawbacks: Most Of It

Instead of repeating all the drawbacks we listed through this review, here’s a rundown of the most troublesome:

  • The digital account IS NOT FREE. It can be under certain conditions, but if these are not met, you will have to pay R$9,90 per month.
  • All of its cards, both physical and virtual are prepaid cards with a credit function activated.
  • You can’t apply for installments on any purchases at all.
  • Your monthly allowance is of 1 withdrawal OR transfer to another bank per month.
  • Each withdrawal beyond that will cost R$6,40.
  • Each transfer to other banks will cost R$5,90.
  • No investment service available.

Instead of highlighting Superdigital’s drawbacks and then recommending it, we actually have some other options for you. Let’s take a look:

Much Better Options For Digital Accounts: Banco Neon and C6 Bank

Neon

If you’re really looking for a better option in general, Banco Neon is the way to go in terms of another digital account that’s really easy to open. Neon offers:

  • Unlimited transfers to other banks and deposits.
  • Loan and investment options.
  • Debit and Credit physical/virtual cards with most accounts.

The only feature in which you can compare Neon with Superdigital is the fact that Neon also only offers 1 free withdrawal per month, but you can get 3 more just by using your card 10 times in the same month. The best part of this? No annuities at all.

You can learn more about Neon here in our review.

C6 Bank

C6 Is another great option when it comes to the best virtual banks in brasil right now. Although, it’s certainly easy to see that they’re aiming mainly for high-income customers. Either way, C6 Bank offers:

  • Unlimited withdrawals and transfers.
  • Loyalty Rewards Program.
  • Mastercard Black card.
  • Fastest transfers to other banks
  • Investment options (Although, limited)

So, if you’re earning more than an average minimum wage, we wholeheartedly recommend C6 as a premium option.

You can read more about C6 Bank here in this review.

Superdigital: Not A Service We Would Recommend

Superdigital is the attempt of a traditional bank to throw itself into the virtual bank market without having a real goal. Sure, the bank works and it’s an official institution, but this doesn’t mean that it’s good or better than other options.

What Superdigital really does best is the fact that it’s one of the easiest accounts to open in the virtual market as of now. Even if it sounds silly, there are still some very specific scenarios where people can benefit from Superdigital. So, here are some of the very specific cases in which we would recommend opening a Superdigital account:

  • You’re not a traditional or digital bank account owner and are in desperate need of one.
  • You have a bad credit score and you have a very hard time opening an account with other banking institutions.
  • You’re in desperate need of a card to make physical purchases.
  • You need a virtual card that works as a way to buy things over the internet (Spotify, Netflix, Amazon, etc.).
  • You’ve just turned 18 and you’re looking for the easiest account to open.

We can’t really say that Superdigital is a bad digital account per se. It works as it’s supposed to and it’s backed by a renowned banking institution. But, we can say that it doesn’t offer the best benefits in the virtual bank scene. Either way, Superdigital might be the option for you if you’re looking for one of the easiest accounts to open. This can be for one of two reasons, either you don’t have a credit history or you have a bad credit score. So, if it suits you, why not give it a try?