Wednesday 27 February 2019 3:58 pm

Digital banking challenger N26 is expanding to Brazil

German fintech challenger N26 is expanding to Brazil, making it the first of Europe's biggest retail digital banks to enter the South American market.

Announcing the move on stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, N26 said Eduardo Prota would head up the new region. Prota has previously worked for Santander and Cielo, as well as having co-founded a ride-sharing startup.

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N26, which was founded in Germany, is live in 24 countries across Europe, including all of the Eurozone and the UK. It is set to enter the US in the first half of 2019, alongside competitor bank Revolut.

The banking startup closed a $300m (£225m) funding round last month led by US venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners, valuing the company at $2.7bn.

It was the largest funding round for a European fintech firm in recent years, until UK savings challenger Oaknorth took over the title with a $440m round from Softbank earlier this month.

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N26 said it now has 2.5m customers, with more than €1bn (£853.3m) held in users' accounts.

Its main competition in Brazil will be local digital bank Nubank, which is already well established. Nubank has raised more than $700m to date, and has more than 5m customers.