Opera browser, created before Google was born, launches into the fintech universe with the Spanish premiere of Dify

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Technology companies continue to bet on the financial sector.

The Opera browser launched a beta version of its fintech Dify in Spain on Wednesday, a first version that makes available to its customers a cashback service, a digital wallet, and a Mastercard debit card that allows them to make payments online and in physical stores with Google Pay.

“Spanish users are prone to use new fintech products. They also have a strong component of e-commerce use compared to other European countries and (…) have one of the most complete fintech landscapes,” explains the company’s head in Spain, Alessio Oliva, who adds that Opera has a significant user base in Spain.

If it goes well, the project will be extended to other countries. The head of Dify in Spain explains that the company’s biggest differentiating factor is its large user base. “No fintech is born with such a large user base,” he stresses during the interview. “We have more than 25 years of experience in this sector, we were born before Google”.

Fintechs are still largely unknown: a study by Asufin shows that only 32% are aware of them, although the percentage is rising among young people.

Dify wants to capitalize on the 380 million monthly active users worldwide, of which 50 million are located in Europe. The company is not closed to any type of user: “We don’t have a precise target because they are all Internet users, all those who shop online,” says Oliva.

E-commerce is one of the sectors that has benefited most from the pandemic, a time when it has experienced a boom. However, Opera was already planning to set up a fintech business earlier, as early as the beginning of 2020.

To become a Dify customer, the user has to download Opera – if he is not a user -, which already has the cashback option automatically integrated. Subsequently, they must log on to the company’s website, register, and associate the app with the browser, so that the cashback, i.e. the reimbursement, can be carried out successfully.

The company offers users a percentage of the amount if they shop online on websites associated with the browser. At the moment, they have already closed deals with more than 70 retailers, including Nike, Sephora and Asos.

“Each store has its own negotiation, its own conditions. So you have to do things right,” says the head of Dify in Spain, and specifies that the only requirement for working with a company is that it includes in its marketing strategy that percentage of reimbursement for attracting new customers.

This refund is not instantaneous, but the fintech must wait for the store to give the go-ahead once the return period has passed, Oliva explains.

In the future, the app is expected to host more services such as savings management, credit, investment opportunities, and instant reimbursement. Likewise, Oliva does not rule out that they will start offering some related to cryptocurrencies later on, assets that other large corporations are already betting on.

“In Opera we already have an integrated crypto wallet. We already work with crypto and I think we were one of the first software technology companies to adopt it,” he points out.

Dify

The company’s business model is based on agreements with merchants, from which they receive a commission, although Oliva emphasizes during the interview that the company is not currently focused on returns, but on product development.

He also did not advance any date as to when the beta version of the product will end, nor a number of users that will make the company a profit.

In the next 6 months, Dify has the challenge of expanding the catalog of merchants with which it offers its services, adding new products, and continuing to develop its technology. We want to polish the product, make it more user-friendly, add new products and continue to develop the technology. “We want to polish the product, make it more agile, as simple as possible for the user,” said Oliva in the interview.

This launch comes after Opera’s purchase of Estonian banking startup Pocosys in January 2020, which was followed by other deals in the sector such as the agreement to acquire Fjord Bank in July and the company’s joining the European Union (EU) Emerging Payments Association in September.

Longevity Card, the neobank that aims to help the elderly take care of their personal finances, is finalizing its arrival in Spain.

The big technology companies are increasingly interested in the financial sector. A Moody’s report published in October already warned of the great competitive pressure facing traditional banks in these circumstances, especially in the world of payments.

The rating agency expects that banks will be affected in attracting and retaining customers, that revenues from payment services will decline, and that in the long term banks will need to pay more to retain deposits.

Regarding this trend, Oliva believes that the entry of these new players is very positive for consumers, who have seen the costs of their products reduced and can make online transactions, and he does not rule out that another large technology company will bring out a product similar to Dify.

“In the end, what we are doing is bringing value to the user, reducing financial costs, banking expenses, offering free products and cutting-edge technology when it comes to managing money and investments,” he defends.

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