PagSeguro already has a bank to call its own.
This week, the Brazilian Central Bank approved the transfer of control of little-known Banco Brasileiro de Negócios (BBN) to Luis Frias, the controlling shareholder of UOL, which controls the payment company.
The news appeared first in the payments blog of Edson Santos, a former senior executive in companies such as Rede, FirstData and Global Payments.
Frias asked for authorization to purchase of the bank in November last year, according to a Central Bank document. The document makes it clear that BBN will be controlled by a holding company, which has among its indirect shareholders Luis Frias, Folhapar, UOL and PagSeguro. Investors have long expected PagSeguro to enter the banking segment.
With a bank license, the company — which caters mainly to microentrepreneurs — could offer credit and other financial services to a population that does not have access to the big banks. The move underscores a strategy that has become increasingly clear: acquiring is the gateway of fintechs to challenge traditional banks.
The purchase of the BBN license comes months after PagSeguro tries to buy Agibank, a bank with a financial profile and a digital footprint.
A banking license, however, is not the only way — though it is the shortest — for an acquirer to compete with big banks. The acquirer can obtain specific licenses for services currently provided by the banks and compete with them the same way.