Rebellion Pay is a neobank that, with the support of Mastercard, is reimagining access to digital payments for new generations.

Joining youth – adolescence, to understand each other – and finances is usually a very complicated task. After all, these are people who in many cases have not yet entered the labor market and whose income depends almost exclusively on their parents.

But the truth is that this public not only demands payment solutions that match the possibilities that their parents have: they are also being catalysts for the digital revolution that is being experienced in this sector.
“In everything related to new technologies, the prescribers are always the young, those with the most energy and desire to change the world”, details Sergio Cerro, CEO of Rebellion Pay. “In the end they create a wave that reaches all audiences, the rest lose their fear of certain means of payment or of trusting companies they do not know or do not have a certain reputation.
His startup is a good example of this. It is one of the neobanks that have emerged to cover the needs and niches that traditional banking did not have well tied to. As is the case with the youngest: adolescents who access payment services for the first time and whose user experience is native and purely digital.

Along the same lines, Paloma Real, General Manager of Mastercard in Spain, explains that “we are immersed in several trends. One of them is how to improve the user experience through biometric identification, achieving a natural and intuitive experience but with all the guarantees. And that is mandatory when we address the younger audience, which requires such a simple and direct relationship.

Paloma Real, General Manager of Mastercard in Spain, and Sergio Cerro, CEO of Rebellion Pay. Photo: Pilar Brañas

The dialogue between Real and Cerro is not accidental: Rebellion Pay operates thanks to one of the licenses that Mastercard issues for conventional banks and also for the new ‘fintech’ that enter to compete in this market.

Initially aimed at that “target” novice in these struggles, this company’s proposal of simplicity and customer service has managed to penetrate a wider audience, taking their average age to thirty. «In many cases, they have been parents of our clients who have been prescribed by them. This is forcing us to change some of our proposals and messages, ”Cerro acknowledges.

What does not change is precisely that simplicity that characterizes neobanks like Rebellion Pay. Both Paloma Real and Sergio Cerro agree on an essential diagnosis: young people do not understand acronyms or concepts typical of traditional banking (such as IBAN, SWIFT, etc.), but rather demand an accessible and understandable vocabulary away from technicalities.

A 100% digital experience

And if once ringing a wallet full of coins was a symbol of power, today that seems a habit far removed from the desires of the youngest. In his case, cash is hardly a bad memory of the past and his commitment is clear to digital (exclusively) and with the mobile phone as the main platform of contact with his finances.

Where is the credit card of a lifetime in this contest? Their own reinvention of the virtual format is a clear trend, motivated not only by those innate preferences for digital, but also by the environmental commitment of these young people.

“Sustainability is no longer an option.” That is how forceful Sergio Cerro is about it. In your case, Rebellion Pay offers by default the bank card in virtual format and only issues the plastic one if it is requested by the customer.

“Right now, 80% of our clients only use the virtual card, although it may be that after the pandemic and when the trips return, we will see a rebound in the issuance of physical cards since there are countries that are not as prepared as Spain for payment NFC ”, explains the entrepreneur.

For Paloma Real, the manifest concern of the new generations towards issues related to sustainability is key in this third change. “And I think it is something that cuts across all industries, but in this case both traditional banking and neo-banks are responding to this demand for more ‘green’ solutions and looking closely at the environmental impact of their operations,” the directive expands.

‘Crypto’ and instant payments

But the move to the purely digital world (and mobile, by extension) does not only concern formats or devices; also to the own possibilities and services that have to be included in the proposals of the neobanks.

“We see a huge boom in instant payments and transfers and a spike in interest around ‘crypto’. There is an audience of young people that is beginning to mature, to experiment with everything that has to do with payments, but also with investments, ”explains Sergio Cerro. Add the concept of “smart cards” anticipated by the CEO of this neobank, those that use our consumer habits to offer new value services, such as ‘cashbacks’, offers for local businesses … “There is a huge possibility there,” he adds.

“We are no longer talking about payments in a store: now we have account-to-account payments, cryptocurrencies … In the end, there is a tendency to offer solutions for the transfer of funds using all the rails that exist at your disposal,” agrees the CEO of Mastercard.

The necessary financial education

Of course, as the focus of payments expands towards new business segments, such as investment in ‘crypto’ or loans and advances that Rebellion Pay also focuses on, we cannot ignore a fundamental aspect: financial education.

Many of these young people are facing their first chance to touch a card, to handle money independently. And for this reason, they understand from Rebellion Pay, one of its functions is also to help them “to understand their finances, to understand their expenses and how to manage them.”

A training effort that is complemented by the titanic efforts of Paloma Real and Mastercard, both in Spain and internationally, working “with governments and organizations of all kinds to promote financial education.”