Facebook and Google New Payment Features in Emerging Markets

Whereas fintechs are having a moment, mostly in markets like Latin America and Brazil, other players – big ones, for instance – are also interested in this kind of matter: precisely when it comes to payment preferences.

Let’s take a closer look.

Brazil has 550 fintechs and 21% of them are for payment methods, according to the Fintech Mining Report 2019 – a study conducted by business innovation holding company Distrito. From the total amount, 231 have emerged between 2016 and 2018. These figures indicate a clear path that Latin America has been following over the last few years: digital innovation is spreading rapidly in the ways Latin Americans live, consume, and – of  course – pay. Another example? Take a look at Mexico‘s recent changes with new payments platform CoDi and the entrance of Brazilian Nubank into the Mexican market announced last week.

One thing’s for sure: this seems to be a whole movement – as consumers are seeking to payment solutions that simplify their lives; companies want to offer such easier solutions to consumers; and investors are well aware of this whole process: fintech is the top sector of VC investment by dollars and number of deals in Latin America.

Given this booming scenario of disruption among payment methods, it has come as no big surprise the recent efforts of giant players Facebook and Google regarding the matter: While the first is starting to develop a new Whatsapp mobile payment feature; the latter is seeking to expand its payment methods in Google Play Store, having announced the inclusion of cash and bank transfers, among other options.

“When I look out at all the different ways that people interact privately, I think payments is one of the areas where we have an opportunity to make it a lot easier, that’s among the most important things that we can do here,” stated Mark Zuckerberg about WhatsApp payments.

Although London is the city chosen as key hub to conduct the new feature’s development; India will be the one to host the initial trial of Whatsapp mobile payments – and not by chance: the emergent country is one of the biggest markets for the message app.

I believe that it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo. So we’re already testing this in India with about a million people.” further stated the Facebook CEO.

Sending a photo may not be as easy as making a payment yet; but Google is also trying to get there. Knowing that cash based operations are still a strong reality in some countries – such as Mexico and Japan, for instance – the tech giant announced its new feature called “pending transactions”, by which it will let users choose to pay by cash, bank transfer and direct debit through receiving a transaction code to later show to a cashier in a local convenience store, and then, simply making the cash payment.

Whereas one of the only two countries where this new Google’s payment option is already available is Mexico; the kick-off of Whatsapp new payment feature will be in India – to further be launched in many other countries in 2019.

Did you notice something familiar?

Well, we sure did: it seems that emerging markets – and its preferences, needs and behavior – are stealing the attention of those big and savvy players. And one of the obvious reasons is: there’s plenty of room for growth in these markets and there’s never been a better time to target them. At least is what Facebook and Google seem to think – and we couldn’t agree more.

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