The rise of Bnext – Interview

Bnext is a Spanish neobank based in Madrid. Having launched back in 2017 they now have over four hundred thousand loyal cardholders. Bnext have fast become a go to option in Spain for consumers who are looking for that bit more from their bank. Marqeta caught up with Guillermo Vicandi, CoFounder at Bnext to learn about their rapid rise and what factors have really helped endear them to their customers.  

Can you provide a quick overview of the Spanish personal banking sector?

In Spain there is a certain unease with traditional banking, especially among younger generations, who are seeking other alternatives and, for instance, fail to understand the need to go to a bank office or be tied to a bank for life. The Spanish banking sector is extremely conventional. Despite this, we believe that Bnext has the potential to respond to society’s demands and become the key banking alternative.

At Bnext, customers have a card linked to an account with which they can pay for their purchases within Spain or abroad, and they also have the possibility, if needed, of contracting financial services such as mortgages or loans in our in-app marketplace. We give our customers the option to choose freely and own their financial life. In other words, to take control of their money.

Bnext has been a success story in the Spanish market – what do you think are the key factors that have helped you succeed?

When we started, we had an idea, but we barely had the resources to get started. Step by step and with a large amount of effort, we were able to achieve small achievements, such as the beta version of the app and the first 3,000 bnexters with our card, which encouraged us to keep pushing. Three years later, we can proudly say that all our efforts have paid off. We have managed to create our own niche within a sector dominated by large banks. Not only do our customers see us as the alternative to traditional banking, but also investors have come to believe in our potential and ability to continue innovating in the business.

All in all, we can say that our strong work ethic, our effort, and our immensely committed team have been the key factors which have brought us where we are today.

What are Bnext’s vision and values?

Bnext’s vision is that people deserve to be in control of their money, and we want to help them move from a position of weakness, complexity, and uncertainty to a position of financial control, ease, and confidence. To do this, we create solutions that allow them to understand and manage their money in a very simple way.

Accordingly, our values can be summarised as: we strive to constantly improve the lives of our users and ensure that they make the right choices. We encourage freedom, seeking the perfect combination between the visual and the simple, and committing both personally and collectively.

How involved is the cardholder in the evolution of your products and services?

Bnext is the first Spanish neobank that represents an alternative to traditional banking, making it easier for people to control their money and enjoy it in a simple, and intelligent way. To this end, we offer our users a Bnext account —Standard or Premium, according to their needs— through which they can enjoy and achieve their full financial independence; the Bnext Mastercard; our marketplace, which includes the financial services that provide a solution to the needs of each user; the Bnext app, which allows them to control expenses, income or payments, as well as access to Bnext services and advantages; and our loyalty program which allows them to save on purchases made on their favourite brands.

What are some of the innovations that you have introduced and how well have these been received by your customers?

We have recently launched a new loyalty program that allows users to save with every purchase made with their card on brands such as AliExpress, Nike, Apple, Groupon, ASOS, and others. This has allowed us to offer another savings solution to our users on purchases they were already making, while we are adding more brands to the program to make it even easier for them to save daily.

What are the next big milestones for Bnext on your journey?

Our next big milestone (we announced it this week) is to start operating as an Electronic Money Institution, in collaboration with our partner Mastercard. This means that from now on, Bnext will have increased control and decision-making capacity over the services and functions offered to its customers. It will serve as a kick-off for two new functionalities: (an international bank account number) IBAN to set direct deposits to pay expenses and receive wages, as well as the possibility of adding the Bnext card to Google Pay and setting it for mobile payments.

For this new stage, we have decided to do a complete rebranding that changes the brand’s positioning in the market and its visual identity. The aim of this is to leverage the significant change that these two major milestones represent within the company. This change will be reflected in all user contact points, from the cards to the web and the app.