A year ago, I wrote an article talking about the set up for the next major global neobank battleground, Mexico.

Since that article was published, a lot has happened in the Mexican ecosystem so I decided that it was time to make an update on how the neobank market is evolving in Mexico and who are the major candidates to become the Mexican Nubank. 

As a bit of context on the market, Mexico is a very fertile ground for the rise of neobanks due to its large unbanked population: 63.1% of adults in a population of 129 million people are unbanked. There is also a high smartphone penetration (62%) and a population that is eagerly adopting fintech services (one of the top 10 countries to adopt fintech according to EY Fintech Adoption Index). Additionally, it is a gateway for expansion into the Spanish speaking countries in the region.

Mexico has been hit hard by the pandemic with close to 1 million confirmed cases and close to 100 thousand deaths, ranking 4th in number of deaths globally. The digitalization trend that was already undergoing in the country was accelerated by COVID-19 as e-commerce became a survival strategy for many businesses and consumers.

On the other hand, banks were forced to close branches while not being prepared to digitize customers or open bank accounts remotely, leaving a void that neobanks were more than happy to fill.

This situation contrasts with European neobanks that saw their growth rate drop during the pandemic by 18-36% according to Priori Data.

The past year

A year ago, we had just a handful of players operating in the country. Now that number is close to 20 neobanks and many more wallets that are positioned to become the Mexican digital bank of choice.

Some relevant players such as Nubank, Bnext, and Ualá announced their entry in the country and have initiated their operations, while N26 seems to have halted plans to enter the market for now.

During this time, the neobanks in Mexico raised around $70M in Seed and Series A rounds with the participation of high profile investors such as Valar Capital, Stripe, and YC. This number is almost 3x the total amount that was raised before. Even so, this number reflects just the disclosed rounds, it is very likely that the real number is much higher.

The result is that the market has become quite competitive in a short period with many players competing not only for customers but also for funding. Let’s take a look at some of the main players competing for the retail market:

(numbers disclosed were self-reported directly or in PRs) 


Albo is the leading neobank in Mexico. After raising $7.4M in the beginning of 2019, it complemented its Series A with another impressive $19M from Peter Thiel’s fund Valar Capital, becoming the first investment of the fund in Mexico. With that investment, it has achieved so far around 300,000 monthly active customers.


The Spanish neobank announced its expansion in Mexico and, in February, launched its local operation. Since then, it mentions that it has already achieved 85,000 customers with a 35% monthly growth. It is the leading neobank in Spain with more than 400,000 customers and it recently closed an additional €11M to support the Latin America expansion, complementing the €22M round last year. It wants Mexico to be its next conquest and bets on its financial services marketplace as a differentiator to achieving that. 


Focused on financial inclusion, Cuenca is another relevant player in the market backed by some heavy-weight investors. At the end of last year, it raised $7.4M from Stripe, complementing the $ 2M previously raised from Kaszek Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. It didn’t disclose any customer numbers so far but it mentioned that it has grown its card usage by 20x in the past 10 months.

The neobank for Millenials has adopted a similar strategy to Robinhood, offering free fractional American stock investments to attract the younger generation. It currently has 240,000 customers with 80,000 brokerage accounts and a large waiting list. Recently, it announced Sina Nader, former President and COO of Robinhood Crypto, LLC, the crypto division of Robinhood, as an advisor to support its plan to become the Mexican Robinhood. 


The founders of one of the first crowdfunding platforms in Mexico created a neobank to provide a better experience to customers. Since its launch in 2018, it has acquired 150,000 accounts. Fondeadora just announced a considerable $14M Series A round led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, which should increase the neobanks’ capacity in leveraging AI for its operations.


The startup that wants to be the Mexican Chime has already raised $22.5M in equity and $50M to offer credit to its user base. With that capital, it was able to grow to a 200,000 customer base while providing 25,000 credit lines.

Besides its growing user base, it also became the first Mexican fintech company to acquire an operational Mastercard primary license in the country.


The Argentine unicorn candidate launched last month in Mexico after 18 months of preparation. Although it took a long time to enter the market, it doesn’t seem to think it is too late to join the competition and bets on financial inclusion as its main strategy. With its strong position in Argentina and its deep pockets, it definitely shouldn’t be ignored.


It started as the digital wallet of Weex, a Mexican MVNO. The MVNO part of Weex was sold to Yonder Media Mobile and the digital wallet remained with the founders, becoming a stand-alone company. Mibo inherited over 500,000 accounts created from its previous business, becoming a relevant competitor in the market.

Credit Card Players

With a different entry market strategy, some neobanks decided to disrupt the market offering a credit card instead of a wallet/checking account plus a debit card. Credit card is more complex business-wise than a debit card but it is one of the most profitable banking services. Here are the main players using this strategy:


The Brazilian behemoth launched officially in the Mexican market in March of this year as Nu. Nubank has been very secretive on how many customers it currently has in Mexico but in aggregate it achieved an impressive milestone of 25 million customers in Latin America, definitely the bulk of the market in Brazil. It wants to replicate its successful strategy in the second-largest market in the region by entering offering credit cards and then expanding to checking accounts and other financial services, 


The credit card neobank closed a $10M Series A round to compete directly with Nubank and try to replicate the Capital One success in Mexico. It is fueled by Chinese capital and AI technology to support its growth. It hasn’t disclosed any customer numbers so far.

Not just fintechs are joining the party

The market opportunity in Mexico brought attention to other players in the market that can transform this market. Here are a few of the most relevant ones that have the potential to create a huge impact on the market:

Hey Banco

This digital bank started off as part of Banregio, a medium-sized bank in Mexico, leveraging its parent company’s physical presence and banking license to compete in the market. In February, it spun-off from the bank to become a prominent competitor in the market. By opening more than 30,000 new accounts on a monthly basis during the pandemic it already has more than 200,000 customers. It is the only player in the market with a full banking license, its own ATM network, and a 5.5% deposit rate. 


The Colombian delivery unicorn is entering strong in the battle for the customer’s wallet in Mexico, after launching its debit card and RappiPay last year, it recently announced a joint venture with Banorte to create a company focused on digital financial services in Mexico. They also brought on the team Juan Guerra (former Citibanamex Innovation Director) as the Head of Rappi Financial Mexico.

Mercado Pago

The Argentine Mercado Libre just became the most valuable company in Latin America with significant support from its fintech arm, Mercado Pago, representing 33% of its Net Revenue. In Mexico, Mercado Pago increased its effort of QR Code payment, investment, and credit. It is definitely a player to keep an eye on. 


This Mexican convenience store offers much more than just coffee and snacks. OXXO has become a financial center for a large part of the population taking advantage of its almost omnipresence across the country with its 20,000 stores. It already offers bill payments, top-ups, cash deposits/withdrawals, and a bank account in a joint venture with Citibanamex. Even so, it is rumored to be working on its own digital bank, which would be a major competitor in the market.

What to expect next? 

About a year ago, the market was just starting with a few players in the market and anticipating new entrances. Now those players and many others are raising impressive Seed and Series A rounds in the market.

It is becoming more complicated for new entrants to compete as current players are acquiring large user bases and raising bigger rounds. Even so, the battleground is still wide open as we have at least 6 players with more than 100,000 customers but none yet close to the first million. 

In the next 6-12 months, we should expect large Series B rounds to be raised and start seeing a clear distinction between players’ features and strategies as they will move on from building the basics (debit card, money transfer, deposit, bill payments) to launch truly differentiator features such as Flinks’ stock investing and Bnext’s marketplace. 

After Brazil became one of the most relevant neobanks markets in the world generating a decacorn and multiple unicorns, the spotlight is now on Mexico as it becomes one of the main stages globally for neobanks. However, the opportunity to become the Mexican Nubank remains open. 

1 comment
  1. Glad to learn that Juan Guerra joined Rappi in Mexico. Nothing more to do with his former employer.

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