By David Marcus, Head of Novi
Today, we’re starting to roll out a small pilot of the Novi digital wallet app in Guatemala and the US*. The purpose of the pilot is for us to affirm our operational readiness and show that our Novi systems, such as our customer care response, compliance program, and core feature functions, are serving customers well.
Globally, about 1.7 billion adults don’t have access to a bank account but could have access to safe and affordable financial services through mobile phones if the right system existed. Being shut out of the global financial system has real consequences for people’s lives, and it’s often the most underserved people who pay the highest price. Costs are high and waits are long when people want to send money to their families internationally. The current system is failing them, and there is no digital financial architecture to support the innovation we need.
These are the challenges we hope to solve in time with Novi, a digital wallet that helps people send and receive money abroad instantly, securely, and with no fees. Whether someone is sending money from the US to a loved one in Guatemala or paying back a friend nearby, it’s as easy as sending a message.
For the pilot we are enabling people to send and receive money using USDP (Pax Dollar) through a partnership with Paxos and Coinbase. Our support for Diem has not changed. We see great value in the way Diem is designed with robust protections for consumers and controls to combat financial crime. We intend to migrate Novi to the Diem network once it receives regulatory approval. The goal for Novi has been and always will be to be interoperable with other digital wallets and we believe a purpose-built blockchain for payments, like Diem, is critical to deliver solutions to the problems that people experience with the current payment system. Imagine if you couldn’t send an email from a Gmail address to a Yahoo address, or if you could only text people with the same mobile provider as you.
We chose USDP for the pilot so that we can test our systems with a stablecoin that has been operating successfully for over three years and that has important regulatory and consumer protection attributes. This means that people can easily withdraw their money in their local currency when they choose. USDP reserves are fully backed by the US dollar and are held 100% in cash and cash equivalents. We chose Coinbase, which manages $180B assets on its platform, to provide custody solutions for the secure storage of our customers’ funds.
How It Works
- To try out Novi, people can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. With this pilot version, a limited number of people will be able to access Novi at the start, so some people may be placed on a waitlist when they sign up.
- People can sign up for Novi using a valid government-issued ID and add money to their accounts with a debit card. Their recipient should also sign up for Novi before they’re sent money.
- People will find their recipient in their contacts, enter an amount and, if they want, a personal note, then review the transaction.
- On Novi, 1 USDP is equal to 1 US dollar. People will send USDP, but their recipients can withdraw the money in their local currency. They can keep the money in their Novi balance or withdraw it by picking up cash at a nearby location or transferring it to their bank account. These options vary by country.
- Our Novi Customer Care team is available to help with 24/7 in-app chat in English and Spanish.
We know privacy is top of mind for Novi customers, so it will always be top of mind for us. We prioritize the security and privacy of people’s information by encrypting sensitive financial information. We have built-in protections against fraud and an entire team dedicated to that work. If we determine a transaction is unauthorized, we provide a full refund back to a person’s Novi balance. People’s Novi accounts and Facebook accounts are separate. Learn more about privacy and Novi.
*Novi is currently available in the US, except for Alaska, Nevada, New York, and the US Virgin Islands.