Brazil’s PIX instant payments bring financial and digital inclusion to another level, shows EBANX’s Beyond Borders study

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” the popular saying goes, which, adapted to Brazil‘s payments industry, could very well become “In the land of the unbanked, the one who uses PIX is…,” well, maybe not a king, but definitely the one who gets to enjoy the benefits of financial inclusion, especially access to e-commerce.

Launched in November 2020, the instant payment system developed by Brazil‘s Central Bank has achieved such popularity that it has already surpassed the number of TEDs and DOCs (types of electronic transfer) made monthly and has reached a penetration rate higher than that of credit cards. Data from the Central Bank shows that 110 million people, more than half the Brazilian population, have already made a PIX transaction.

But beyond the usability provided by PIX, what does the widespread adoption of the payment method represents regarding financial and digital inclusion in a country that still has a huge contingent of unbanked people?

READ ALSO: Global and local marketplaces are going hybrid to draw consumers in Latin America

The new Beyond Borders data analysis released by EBANX, a Brazilian fintech that processes payments for global companies in Latin America and is the parent company of LABS, shows that the rise of PIX is linked to e-commerce growth in Brazil – and, at the same time, PIX itself has started a kind of revolution in the online shopping experience. AMI‘s projections suggest that payments via PIX in e-commerce are expected to double every year, growing 95% per year until 2024, when the method may represent almost 10% of all online purchases in Brazil.

For PIX to achieve such relevance in e-commerce, another digital inclusion wave lead the way: the high smartphone penetration in Brazil (and also in Latin America in general, since today there are more Latin Americans with a cell phone than with a bank account), transforming the smartphone into a major vector of e-commerce, which accounts for 60% of the volume of e-commerce purchases in 2021 in Latin America.

READ ALSO: Latin American e-commerce to skyrocket 37% in 2021, shows EBANX’s Beyond Borders 2021/2022 study

The base for PIX‘s success is exactly that: being mobile, having been created for the mobile payment experience, with the use of QR Code scannable by the camera and the possibility of using the cell phone number as a key for transactions. According to data from Brazil’s Central Bank, 98% of the PIX transactions made since its launch were done via cell phone, which represents more than 70% of the money volume transacted by this payment method.

Graphic: Beyond Borders/EBANX

PIX reveals pent-up demand

The huge contingent of Brazilians who have switched to mobile shopping using PIX as payment has added a few million new shoppers to e-commerce. Beyond Borders looked at more than one million PIX transactions made in the last quarter of 2021 via the EBANX platform and found that 62% of consumers who used PIX are first-time online shoppers.

These new customers responded for nearly 40% of the volume paid via PIX in the quarter, representing a 20% increase in sales volume for companies offering PIX as a payment method through EBANX. “PIX brings more people to the game. People who didn’t have a credit card or entrepreneurs who didn’t have a POS terminal can now get paid via PIX,” says Erika Daguani, VP of Product at EBANX.

READ ALSO: PIX is ‘much cheaper’ for merchants than credit and debit cards, economists from BIS and Brazil’s Central Bank point out

In addition, data from the World Bank shows that PIX enables companies to reach a layer of consumers who were not previously participating in e-commerce, as PIX’s penetration is considerably higher than that of credit cards, at 51% versus 25%.”PIX brought a pent-up demand that we didn’t know existed,” said Wagner Ruiz, co-founder and CRO of the fintech.

The inclusive aspect of PIX also appears in other data: four months after its launch, 35% of Brazilians enrolled in CadÚnico, which registers families in poverty or extreme poverty throughout the country, already had a PIX key, and 25% of them had already received a transaction, according to the Central Bank.

The future of payments is instant

According to experts consulted by Beyond Borders, the successful case of PIX in Brazil has not only served as a reference for other Latin American countries to develop their own instant payment methods, such as Argentina and its Transferencias 3. 0, or Colombia and its PSE (Pagos Seguros en Línea), as it points to a scenario in which real-time payments will be the protagonists of a digital solutions ecosystem alongside digital wallets, Buy Now Pay Later solutions, cross-border payments, among other products, that will bring a revolution to the consumer experience in Latin America in the next decade.

“PIX has been a success story around the world in terms of user engagement, financial inclusion, and boosting e-commerce,” said Jan Smith, partner at KoreFusion, a consultancy and advisory firm specializing in payments and financial services in Latin America, heard by the study.


The Beyond Borders report is issued annually by the Brazilian fintech company with global operations EBANX. To download the new Beyond Borders study (in Portuguese), click here.

This post was last modified on January 11, 2023 10:39 am

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Carolina Pompeo

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