Brazilian food-tech – and also the leading delivery app in the country – iFood launched this Wednesday digital accounts for all its 236,000 partner restaurants. The iFood Digital Account was developed by MovilePay in partnership with Zoop, both fintechs from Movile Group.
The new digital accounts are an evolution of the Visa prepaid card pilot project launched by iFood and its partner Movile companies in August. The account will enable iFood’s partner restaurants to access financial services that range from banking transactions (transfers, payment of slips, and cards) and credit transactions (including prepayment of receivables by iFood) to acquiring services (POS offers and payment via QR Code).
iFood said that no monthly fee will be charged to restaurants and that its restaurants will have access to lower credit interest rates than in traditional banks – even though the credit fees vary according to the customer profile, the fees can be as BRL 1.99 per month in some cases.
To LABS, iFood’s CFO and VP of Strategy at iFood, Diego Barreto, stated that this initiative is a powerful combination to quickly roll out badly needed financial services to iFood’s massive network restaurants in Brazil. “For iFood, this is an extension of our efforts to keep iFood’s network of restaurants alive and healthy during the pandemic that has hit Brazil particularly hard, and during a time that many of the restaurants’ dining rooms can not open to full capacity,” he said.
According to Barreto, for MovilePay and Zoop, this new “bank of restaurants” – is the biggest of its kind in the Americas and showcases the ability to quickly move from a small pilot of 1,000 restaurants to a fully operational financial system for all of iFood’s restaurant partners.
Asked if there is an initiative to build a “superapp” out of iFood, Barreto explained that “in terms of the superapp model that some pundits have discussed, iFood is focused on being a foodtech and offers services to our ecosystem, choosing strategic partners to develop specific solutions.” However, fintech expansion remains the investment Movile group’s core strategic focus moving into 2021.
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“Our work is centered on restaurant owners. So, we know the daily challenges they face with management and financial operations, which are crucial to success. Also, many of these restaurants, especially small and medium-sized merchants, face several obstacles in opening business accounts, access to credit, and other benefits necessary to run their businesses and grow. The iFood Digital Account guarantees access to the best services with no bureaucracy, thus contributing to the democratization of financial services,” said Daniel Bergman, CEO of MovilePay, in a press statement.
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Entrepreneurs can access the iFood’s digital account through the app or use it on the restaurant’s website. “Through the same iFood app they rely on today, restaurant owners may now quickly open a digital business account and carry out transactions without costs and bureaucracy, precisely in this challenging moment of reopening their dining rooms. This is another step that we are taking to be the preferred bank of our partners,” said Ricardo Ubrig, commercial director for iFood in a press statement.
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iFood wants to lead in food benefit ticket sector
iFood is also now offering food ticket benefit for companies in Brazil, a market that has traditional competitors like Alelo, VR and Sodexo.
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The pandemic pushed employees to work from home. That was a problem for those who received food tickets from their companies, since iFood’s in-app deliveries didn’t use to accept these kind of payment through vouchers. Thus, at first, iFood started to accept food tickets of those companies that are now rivals. In July, iFood launched its own solution ‘iFood Refeição’ and currently 600 companies have already joined it.
According to iFood, employees of companies that adopt iFood Refeição will have the flexibility to use their balance through the app itself or in a brick-and-mortar restaurant, a process that will take place as a digital wallet and without charging any extra fee.
(Updated at 4:52 pm)