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Pix in Brazil - statistics & facts

Even though cash is still the main payment method in Brazil, digital solutions dominate the financial technology market in the Portuguese-speaking country. Payment startups constituted nearly 20 percent of the fintech supply in the territory as of November 2020. This supply predominance also translates into a demand primacy. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, money transfers and payment apps were the most used type of fintech service in the country. However, lockdowns and other containment measures have certainly contributed to this development, since online payments proved to be good alternatives to reduce physical contact. This trend is forecast to strengthen in coming years. By 2025, digital payments will account for over 95 percent of the almost 147 million fintech users in the South American country.

A successful story

One of these payment fintechs is Pix, a platform set up by the Central Bank of Brazil to bring instant payments closer to the population. After its launch at the end of 2020, Pix experienced an enormous growth. One reason for this might be the user-friendly operation mode of the payment system: instead of typing in all their personal data, users only need their Pix key to maintain transactions. A Pix key could be an e-mail address, a cellphone number, the taxpayer identification number, or a random, automatically generated code. So far, there are nearly 207 million Pix keys in use, from which at least a third consisted of bank’s personal identification numbers. However, the platform’s success is mainly attributed to its low transaction fees for companies and the absence of any transaction fees for individuals, besides the offer of 24/7 instant transfers.

Reshaping a traditional financial service

With less than six months of operation, the monthly number and volume of transactions using Pix have skyrocketed, reaching almost 394 million operations for nearly 280 billion Brazilian reals as of March 2021. Pix is mostly replacing personal bank transfers. Nearly eight out of 10 transactions made through the platform during March 2021 were transfers from person to person (P2P), with at least 101 billion Brazilian reals being moved between users. As of that month, over 50 million people received and sent money using Pix. In comparison, only four million companies received and sent money through the platform. Thus, as far as Brazilians continue to turn to digital solutions, Pix may replace some of the most widely used payment methods in the country, like the popular “boleto bancário”, a barcoded ticket that can be paid on ATMs, in bank agencies, post offices, lottery agencies, and through internet banking

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