Going to a bank to exchange money, make a deposit or simply withdraw is a thing of the past. Technological progress brought with it platforms such as Berzus -formerly Bancumbre- a fintech with a strong presence in Venezuela that allows you to open a digital wallet at no cost.
The platform offers a notable advantage compared to other fintechs: it makes it possible to receive funds from Zelle, without the need to open or have an account in the United States.
Although operations in bolivars are now suspended, Berzus is a widely used wallet in Latin America. Do you want to know everything about this fintech? We invite you to read this article in its entirety.
What is Berzus?
Berzus is a multicurrency digital wallet that was born in Venezuela, with the vision of providing alternatives to Latin Americans in terms of savings, withdrawal and deposit of different currencies. Originally, it was called Bancumbre and it allowed to convert bolivars to multiple foreign currencies.
At that time, its main attraction was to serve as a Zelle account rental, in which users who did not have a bank account in the United States could receive and send money through an assigned Zelle when registering with Berzus.
However, since June 2022, it ceased operations in bolívares and changed its name to Berzus (so far, it is unknown whether the suspension is temporary or permanent). As well as stopped allowing Zelle to be sent through the platform, although it can still be received.
Even so, within the fintech, users can make deposits and withdrawals in euros, Colombian pesos and dollars (via ACH); in addition to carrying out operations from Berzus to Berzus.
For example, to transact with pesos, Bancolombia is available; while in Europe, several banks of the European Union, the most outstanding being the Deutsche Bank; and in the US, through Bank Of America and TD Bank, only by ACH.
Berzus offers two types of wallets, Ávila and Yombatón, each with different characteristics and conditions for both natural and legal persons.
Likewise, the fintech allows the purchase of products on Amazon through the Encárguelo platform.
How is currency withdrawal at Berzus currently?
Users who kept bolívares within the platform, or those who have Zelle funds with the intention of converting them to bolívares, should change their strategy and try to change their money to another currency.
Berzus offered users to withdraw their funds in Colombian pesos or euros. In the case of dollars, it is valid to do so through the ACH system, which consists of transfers between US banks.
However, many users have chosen to move their funds to other digital wallets such as Reserve, following these steps:
- First, they change their currencies into pesos within Berzus.
- They then transfer it to a Bancolombia account using Reserve.
- Later, from Reserve they make the change to bolivars without inconvenience.
How does sending by ACH work?
For us to understand better, the ACH is like a camera or storage place (in this case online) that receives the funds that we send from one bank to another.
That camera receives the transaction, analyzes it and checks if the issuing account really has funds and is legal. Then proceed to release the money to the destination account, which can be Bank Of America.
To make the transfer, it is necessary to ask the person for the ABA Routing Number, which is a nine-digit code to identify the accounts and financial institutions.
Many Berzus users send funds to relatives and companies in the US by ACH, and vice versa, in operations such as remittances, purchase of items, etc.
Note: When a transfer is made by Berzus via ACH to another recipient, the operation can take up to 72 hours and always charges commission.
How to receive a payment via Zelle?
When registering with Berzus, the user will have a Zelle account assigned to receive payments, to manage it they will be given the name and email address of the owner.
To receive payments via Zelle, the user will only have to provide who they send the mail to and the name of the assigned Zelle holder, with these data the transaction can be carried out without problem.
In order to have such information, Berzus activated a technical support bubble in the bottom right of the platform. Through it, the fintech team will respond by sending the required data.
To accept the payment, the following steps must be followed:
- When the Zelle transaction is completed, the user will have to enter the "Transactions" tab, which will take them to a menu where they must accept the "Receive Zelle" option.
- In that section, the basic information of the Zelle account that the Berzus creditor has will appear: assigned mail, owner, account number and balance.
- After receiving the operation, the next step will be to enter data corresponding to the transfer (name and email of the person sending the Zelle), a screenshot and the reference number.
- Finally, it is time to click on “Add transaction” and wait until it becomes effective. Usually, it is done on the same day, although it can take longer.
Who can have a Berzus account?
Fintech is open to all those who wish to operate digital finance. Users only need to provide email, personal data and identification document (identity card or passport), to complete the registration and start using their services.
Why use Berzus?
Although operations in bolivars remain suspended, these are some of the attributes that Berzus offers:
- Easy drive: Unlike other fintechs, Berzus allows you to manage accounts through the mobile app and its website. It is not mandatory to have a mobile device.
- Free opening: In Berzus it is possible to have two types of accounts: Ávila and Yombatón; each one with unique advantages and conditions. The user can create his Ävila wallet without having funds.
- Assigned Zelle: When opening an account at Berzus, the user has a Zelle assigned for deposits, a great plus for those who do not have this type of account in the United States.
- Transfers between third parties: Berzus to Berzus operations are totally free, free of commissions.
- Security: It has a verification system designed to avoid identity theft and scams due to suspicious income.
How does Berzus work?
The user can download the App on their mobile device or register and carry out transactions through Berzus directly from their browser. Let's see how the complete process is:
- When you enter Berzus, you must go to the "Account Pre-opening" section and enter your email. The system will validate it and ask for your name and surname, ID or passport document number, gender and nationality.
- It is also important to provide date of birth, marital status, country, address where the user lives, landline, postal code, city, etc.
- When advancing to the next phase, the user will have to provide employment data: profession, current occupation, monthly income, etc. After completing the information, the record will be created and the next thing will be to press "next" to complete the registration.
- In this phase, the user will have to take a passport-style photo and guarantee that the information provided is real and reliable.
5. The last phase will be identity verification. It requires uploading photos of the ID or passport, RIF and a personal photo. The user will also have to record a video turning their head.
6. Done! Berzus will send you an email with the access information, which includes an automatic password. This key must be personalized by the user when entering for the first time.
Important: Berzus may request additional information in the case of operations involving Zelle, whose amount exceeds $100.
Account types: Ávila and Yombatón
As we said before, Berzus offers two types of wallets with unique qualities for users: Ávila and Yombatón. Let's see the characteristics of each one:
- To open an Ávila account you do not need to have money. It is totally free and can be used by natural and legal persons.
- Something that the user should know is that Berzus charges $0,75 per month for its maintenance.
- You are assigned a Zelle account for unlimited deposits. Funds cannot be withdrawn from Zelle using Berzus.
- It offers the possibility of withdrawing Colombian pesos unlimitedly.
- It is designed primarily for companies and individuals who want to pay payroll through Berzus.
- The opening amount is also free; but, in case of sending currencies, it is essential to have a balance of $10 to enable the Yombatón account option.
- Maintenance is $0,75 per month and assigns up to 50 users to each such account.
- It has enabled the option of deposits via ACH, the system that allows you to transfer from a checking or savings account and even from a credit card.
- Unlike Ávila, with Yombatón the limit on the amount of Zelle's withdrawals is set at a maximum of $300 per month. It can be done via ACH.
Berzus has a special tool for customers with excess liquidity in weak currencies, which are associated with Ávila or Yombatón accounts.
It aims to help businesses protect themselves from inflation by offering them the opportunity to accept QR code payments on their premises and preserve the dollar value of money.
What are the commissions like at Berzus?
The Venezuelan fintech has commissions established in its terms and conditions of use. Let's look at Zelle's:
- The commission is fixed at 1,5% for transactions up to $1.500.
- If the amount is from $1.501 to $3.000, the user must pay a 1,75% commission.
- From $3.000 onwards 2,5%.
In the case of ACH operations, these are the withdrawal fees:
- Up to $1.000 remove 1%.
- From $1.001 to $2.500, the commission is 1,5%
- From $2.501 to $3.500, 2% commission.
- From $3.501 to $4.999, 2,5% commission.
- After $5.000, the commission is 3%.
Advantages and disadvantages of Berzus
These are the points for and against Berzus, formerly called Bancumbre:
- Ease of operations through its platform. It does not involve cumbersome procedures and can be done from anywhere.
- Berzus is an alternative for those Venezuelans and Latin Americans who cannot travel to the US to open an account with Zelle.
- Its security interface is quite rigorous, in order to avoid hackers and scams.
- Access to a digital wallet is free.
- There is no daily transfer limit.
- You cannot do operations in bolivars
- External transactions from the platform have schedules, which may delay the sending and receiving of funds. From Monday to Friday he works from 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM; on Saturdays from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM; and on Sundays and holidays from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
- There are many limitations to withdrawing money from Zelle.
- In addition to the suspension of operations with bolivars, they also suspended the service with Panamanian balboas.
- No other operation can be done if there is one in progress.
With this information you can decide if Berzus is the right alternative to manage your currencies. In the next post, we will talk about other fintechs that are very popular in Venezuela.