The largest department store in Mexico wants to use brand recognition to position itself as a worthy place to keep and manage money for Mexican Americans.
Grupo Coppel, parent company to the Coppel chain of department stores, launched a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured mobile wallet app Tuesday that offers users digital and physical debit cards and remittance services.
Coppel Access is meant to step in where traditional banks can’t. Opening an account at traditional financial institutions in the U.S. requires a U.S. ID, leaving some Mexican Americans unbanked.
“Coppel Access brings unbanked consumers one of the most critical features of a financial service: trust,” said Alviere CEO Yuval Brisker.
Alviere is Coppel Access’ embedded finance platform provider. It’s FDIC-insured through its banking partner, New Yorrk City-based Community Federal Savings Bank.
“According to the FDIC, ‘don’t trust banks’ was the second-most cited main reason for unbanked consumers not having an account in 2021,” Brisker told Banking Dive. “As the largest retail department store chain in Mexico, the Coppel brand is trusted and recognized by Mexican consumers who are now in the U.S. Importantly, the features of the mobile wallet supports all consumers in the U.S. and accepts official identification from both Mexico and the United States for account registration.”
Those without access to banking services are left to carry larger quantities of cash and are unable to make purchases digitally. Access to a debit card remedies both of those challenges, and the Coppel Access mobile wallet allows customers to transfer money to friends and family in the U.S. and to send money to folks in Mexico.
People in Mexico can receive their remittances at 1,250 locations or Grupo Coppel’s bank, BanCoppel, or directly into their BanCoppel account.
By offering some of the same services as traditional banks do, Grupo Coppel is continuing its 80-year mission of “improving the lives of its customers, said Adrian Jaimes, CEO of U.S.-based Coppel affiliate Appriza Pay.
“The Mexican American community, like many immigrant communities, still has strong ties to their home country. For Mexican Americans in particular, we know they are supporting friends and family in Mexico by sending money home, but there aren’t many simple, trusted solutions to do that,” Brisker said. “With Coppel Access, they can use direct deposit or mobile check deposit to fund their account and then transfer money to friends or family without leaving their home.”
Moreover, being able to get a debit card “gives them freedom of choice for where, when and how they spend their money,” he said. “Those of us who have been banked for decades may take that for granted, but this is a critical step to encouraging equity in the U.S.”
The launch of Coppel Access comes while another retailer, Walmart, is beta-testing its own fintech platform One.
“[Walmart doesn’t] need to go acquire customers, they already have them,” David Donovan, an executive vice president at digital consulting company Publicis Sapient, told Banking Dive last year. “They just have to roll that service out and make it really easy and simple. It’s like, build it, and they’ll come.”
The cost of acquiring a banking customer ranges between $100 and $200, according to a study by Oliver Wyman.
“Acquisition costs are a lot. It’s a lot to get a new customer when you’re not an established brand,” Donovan said.
Brand recognition will play “a critical part in the adoption of Coppel Access,” Brisker said.
“We’ve found that 91% of consumers who frequent a brand are willing to use financial services they offer,” Brisker said. “We fundamentally believe that consumers who already know and love Coppel will be excited to see Coppel Access is available for them in the U.S.”