Credicorp is aiming to build a presence in the Chilean retail banking market, and is making its first move in that strategy this week with the soft launch of a digital banking app.
The Peru-headquartered financial conglomerate will begin offering Tenpo accounts to “friends and family” this week, after getting regulatory approval last month to offer retail banking services in Chile. Credicorp is aiming Tenpo, its new digital banking app, at individuals who are unsatisfied with their existing banking services.
Tenpo is one of five startup businesses that Credicorp is nurturing through its open innovation division, Krealo.
“It’s the door into retail banking for Credicorp in Chile,” said Marco Roca, founder and head of Krealo at Credicorp (pictured, left, with Diego Garaycochea, managing director for open innovation). “The big dream in the medium to long term is to become a retail bank in Chile.”
In the short term, Credicorp aims to offer a market-leading digital account to Chileans, offering better prices and user experience than the country’s biggest banks. To roll out Tenpo, Credicorp will leverage its base of some 800,000 retail clients that it acquired when it bought the digital operations of Multicaja last year.
Multicaja users can top up digital accounts and use PayPal in Chile. Those customer will soon be offered a smoother experience for those tasks through the Tenpo app, Roca told iupana.
Initially, Tenpo users will be able to pay for services, top up accounts including their PayPal accounts, and use a virtual Mastercard. Credicorp has a full pipeline of new features in the works, including P2P transfers and savings envelopes, Roca added.
Peru SME focus
The Tenpo launch is part of a broader strategy at Krealo to invest in existing fintechs as well as develop new ones from scratch. Tenpo and Tyba, a Colombian app that offers savings and investment products, are ones it has developed itself. Krealo has also made strategic investments in Peruvian payments processor Culqi, point of sale system Wally and Lumingo, a digital marketplace owned by local media conglomerate El Comercio.
“In Peru, we’re working on the thesis of digitalizing SMEs,” said Roca, pointing to Culqi, Wally and Lumingo.
The company is close to closing another strategic investment in a Peruvian fintech that serves SMEs, he said. The deal is likely to be announced later this month.
Small and medium sized businesses account for more than 40% of Peru’s GDP, and they are an important client base for Credicorp’s traditional businesses, including Mibanco, a microfinance lender. Even so, Krealo saw an opportunity to further develop its products for that sector.
“There’s still a lack of tools for SMEs to grow sustainably,” he said.
Insurtech in the spotlight
Krealo is coming to the end of a focused phase of acquisition and development, and plans to spend most of 2020 growing the businesses in its portfolio, said Roca. It hopes that it can cross-sell some products in Peru with its new suite of businesses. And in Colombia and Chile, it hopes to attract new clients to the group.
That being said, Roca sees opportunities for Krealo to add an insurance service to its portfolio. “Regarding insurance, we’re not there right now. But we could be in the future,” he said.