Digital banking has grown by leaps and bounds around the world and in Chile as well. The possibility of transferring money and performing many other financial operations through ATMs, mobile telephones, computers and tablets via Internet, is now joined by an innovative bank account on Facebook, the first of its kind in Latin America.

The new application, BBVA Link, which will start operating in Chile on March 3rd, will allow users to send, request and receive money directly through Facebook in just three steps, on a completely secure platform and no maintenance fees.

BBVA Chile Business Development manager Mauricio Fuenzalida explained that “clients are demanding unlimited accessibility from the financial system. In other words, they want us to make their life easier, dealing with their bank whenever, however and wherever they want. And that is exactly one of the advantages of Link – an initiative that was made possible thanks to the joint effort of BBVA teams in the US, Spain and Chile.”

BBVA Link’s simplicity and agility are two of its main assets – money can be sent by simply selecting one person from the list of friends on Facebook, stating the amount to be transferred and confirming the operation on the mobile phone.

The person receiving the transfer on Facebook can choose to open a BBVA Link account online, transfer the money to an account with any other financial institution or else personally withdraw the money from any of BBVA’s exclusive network of ATMs, known as Banco Fácil.

Likewise, BBVA Link allows users to request money from the list of Facebook friends who have the BBVA Link application installed by simply selecting the person and stating the amount to be received.

Maximum monthly amounts that can be credited and transferred are Ch$300,000 and Ch$50,000 per transaction.

The new bank account on Facebook does not charge any opening or closing costs, maintenance fees or any expense associated with money transfers, and can be opened by anyone over 18 years old. The account holder can also authorize up to five additional BBVA Link accounts for their children over 14 years old.

Mauricio Fuenzalida said that the decision to launch BBVA Link in Chile was because it has the highest Facebook penetration rate on the entire continent, including the United States, with 6.7 million active users.

He stated that 94% of all Chileans with access to Internet have either a Facebook or Twitter account or both, and that 92% check information on these platforms on a daily basis.

Security A key aspect of BBVA Link is its high security standards which are the same currently in use for all BBVA bank transactions.

All transactions are made with high-security encrypted data embedded on BBVA servers. Therefore Link does not share any of its users’ financial information with Facebook or any other platform,” said Mauricio Fuenzalida.

The first Latin American account on Facebook will be operational on computers, tablets and smartphones with Android operating systems.

Furthermore, a second BBVA Link is expected to be available for small businesses and entrepreneurs so that users can buy directly on Facebook fan pages.

Leader in digital banking

According to the BBVA Chile Business Development manager, Link is part of BBVA’s strategy to lead the technological changes that are transforming the financial industry and to lead digital banking in Latin America.

“BBVA Link responds to a new way of banking. Moving from a traditional form of banking to a digital business model is necessary to be competitive, offer more efficient, flexible and quality services and, ultimately, simplify people’s lives,” said Mauricio Fuenzalida.

Online banking data

Online banking (through Internet) in Chile has registered an exponential increase over the last decade. In 2000, the number of clients that accessed the private website of a bank with a password amounted to 285,000. In 2012, this number had jumped to 4.7 million, and by the end of 2013, it surpassed the 5 million mark, according to the Survey on Household Finances conducted by the Central Bank of Chile.

In Chile, 62.9% of all people with access to Internet visit financial websites (Comscore 2013).

According to figures of the Chilean Association of Banks and Financial Institutions, the amount of electronic fund transfers reached US$ 1 trillion, equivalent to four times the country’s GDP.

In Latin America, BBVA is the financial institution with the greatest number of single visits in online banking with 3,115,000 visits (Comscore 2013).