“It’s really difficult when you immigrate to another country,” says Andrea del Valle. She moved to Chile from Venezuela five years ago with a vision of the future she wanted but uncertainty about how to make it work. One day, a poster for Accion partner Destacame caught her eye, and when she looked it up online, she was glad to see that it offered an opportunity for online financial education. Launched in 2015, Destacame provides a suite of products that allow consumers to manage their financial life and to build their financial health.
Andrea explored Destacame’s offerings and seized the opportunity to build her credit history and applied for a microloan through the platform. She used the money from that loan to buy a food truck. Selling snacks and meals from her new truck helped supplement her expenses as Andrea studied natural therapy and planned for her long-term career. During this time, she was able to learn a lot from Destacame about keeping your expenditures proportional to your income and saving and investing money. “At the beginning, it seemed impossible — now I am able to keep my savings as Destacame suggests,” she says.
As Andrea’s income began to grow and she was building a positive credit history, new opportunities opened up for her. She was able to open a bank account and get her first credit card. This allowed her to achieve her dream of opening her own studio offering natural therapy — making the life she had been chasing since she came to Chile a reality.
Chile has become a magnet for immigration in Latin America, and providing this growing population with useful financial services can help immigrants to rebuild their lives and livelihoods in their new communities. As an immigrant herself, Virginia Chacón, Destacame’s head of operations, understands the challenges displaced people face when they try to access financial services. When she moved from Venezuela to Chile, working at Destacame helped her to understand Chilean society better and to become more involved in her new country. Having employees with diverse backgrounds complements Destacame’s advanced use of data to help them better understand and serve customers. “You get to know the real problems of people and therefore give them real solutions to their needs. The more information you have, the better you can help them,” says Virginia.
As Andrea visits Destacame’s office, she recounts how she was able to overcome hurdles and build her life in Chile. “Those credit records helped me to be able to rent this space and so much more, and everything really started with that microcredit that Destacame offered me.” Andrea recently helped a friend who immigrated find a job and a place to live. She was stuck all over again by the struggle immigrants face without any financial history to help establish themselves and find a home to rent. Andrea was glad to be in a position to help her friend, and as she passes along her success, one more person benefits with new opportunities and a shot to build a new life.