Airfox launching pilot in Via Varejo’s Casas Bahia stores

Strategic partnership with Brazilian retail giant to democratize financial services

This photo shows a Casas Bahia store in São Paulo, Brazil. Boston-based Airfox is launching a pilot program with Casas Bahia that will allow customers to manage monthly payments via the Airfox mobile wallet app.

The Airfox team is on-site São Paulo, Brazil to launch our strategic partnership with Brazilian retail giant Via Varejo. This new collaboration allows Airfox to extend its mobile digital wallet to Via Varejo’s national customer base and drive mainstream adoption.

This trip’s assignment? Launching the Airfox pilot program in two Casas Bahia stores.

Launching the Airfox retail pilot program

The Airfox team from Boston includes Katie Sedat (VP of marketing), Cathy Melnikow (marketing manager), and Bruna Luniere (user success associate). We join the team members based in Brazil: Gustavo (president of Brazil), Felipe (director of customer success), and engineering (Amauri, Rafel, and Thiago). Together, we are working closely with counterparts at Via Varejo to facilitate a successful launch of the pilot in December.

Airfox and Via Varejo together after a great retail training session.

Eliminating paper payment records

Starting in December, the Airfox app will be offered as the recommended option for customers to manage their carnês, a popular payment method in Brazil where customers split the cost of an item into monthly installments (or parcelas).

Casas Bahia carnês pictured. Customers will be able to pay their Casas Bahia CDC “carnês” bill directly through the Airfox app, instead of going to a physical store. CDCs are in-store loans used to purchase large-ticket items like furniture, electronics, and appliances.

Now, the Airfox app will make this process even easier. Customers will no longer need to save a booklet for each installment. The Airfox app will send reminders for upcoming payments and users can pay monthly installments directly from their Airfox app balance. Customers who don’t have a bank account or credit card will be able to pay their monthly installments anywhere after loading an Airfox app balance using Boleto bancario, a bank account, or cash at 250,000+ locations throughout the country.

Managing carnês in the Airfox app.

This pilot will run in two stores initially. This week, Airfox marketing and customer success teams are in Brazil preparing for the launch, as well as training the support center and in-store training teams. Airfox will then be on location in the two stores to support Via Varejo’s training teams and answer questions. We will gather feedback from these sessions to improve the training process when we expand to more stores in early 2019.

Airfox will launch its pilot program in these two Casa Bahia stores in December. Present in more than 400 municipalities across 20 Brazilian states and the Distrito Federal, Via Varejo manages nearly 1,000 stores and serves 68% of Brazil’s population.

Democratizing financial services through blockchain

This is the first step in the partnership between Airfox and Via Varejo announced in mid-September 2018. This is an amazing opportunity to get Airfox into the homes and hearts of Brazilians. Through Casas Bahia, Via Varejo issues roughly 300,000 new carnês per month, and currently has an outstanding loan portfolio of roughly $1 billion.

Via Varejo handled sales of approximately $6.3 billion in Brazil last year (USD converted in today’s exchange rate). The company’s 26 distribution centers, in strategic locations throughout Brazil, average 1 million deliveries per month to the homes of its customers. Eventually, users of the Airfox app will be able to make cash withdrawals and deposits at all of the 676 Casas Bahia stores in more than 400 municipalities across 20 Brazilian states and the Distrito Federal.

Airfox expects that the scale of users acquired from this partnership will rapidly accelerate the improvement of our algorithm to develop alternative credit scoring for users. As an alternative to antiquated credit scores from traditional financial institutions, Airfox plans to leverage transaction history and smartphone data to create a dynamic credit model to provide inclusive access to capital for millions of people. (For more information on our credit scoring, read our recently updated white paper.)

Airfox is honored to share our vision for a more inclusive world where financial services are available to everyone with Via Varejo. For more information about the app, visit our website. To find out how Airfox plans to make financial services more affordable using blockchain technology and our cryptocurrency AirToken, read our new white paper.