Contactless payments grew 5 times in Brazil over one year

Payments per approach were pushed up by coronavirus crisis in Brazil

Photo: Screenshot/ Visa Website
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  • Contactless payments were already a growing trend among Brazilians before the pandemic, but the coronavirus pushed it to a greater growth
  • Visa reports that in December 2019, contactless pay achieved 7 million transactions per month in the country

Contactless payments grew fivefold in Brazil comparing March 2019 to the same period this year, when it was the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

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In December 2019, Visa Consulting & Analytics reported reaching 7 million contactless transactions per month in Brazil. As its figures are from before the coronavirus pandemic, the numbers show that Brazilians are increasingly adept at this technology. The pandemic only pushed Brazilians towards greater adherence. Since last year’s report, growth has been exponential, according to Visa.   

According to Alessandro Rabelo, Executive Director of Solutions at Visa in Brazil, the company would undoubtedly be able to reach these numbers without the COVID-19 pandemic push. He explains that the numbers have no relationship with COVID-19 and social distance, since this volume of growth is related to the movements that the industry has been making in recent years and more effectively in the last year, when there was an increase in the volume of issuances by banks, the entry of new acceptance models such as, for example, in the public transport. It’s the case of the subway in Rio de Janeiro and buses in São Paulo that currently accept contactless payment methods through Visa.

Data from the Brazilian Association of Credit Card Companies and Services (Abecs) based on last year’s report shows that Brazilian consumer habit has been changing and contactless payments have grown 565%, moving BRL 6 billion (about $1 billion). Digital payments represented 43% of household consumption, and 50% of card users were already used to making purchases through e-commerce.

Considering that a great part of Brazilians has no access of digital tools, neither a smartphone nor a smartwatch to pay by approach, Rabelo explains that part of the growth observed by Visa in volumes is related to the issuance by banks issuing plastic cards with new technology already embedded in it.

“At the end of the day, the consumer can have access to technology in several ways, one of which is the mobile device or a smartwatch, or through wearables or the plastic itself. What we see in terms of industry movements, both in Brazil and in other countries, is that most transactions take place through the plastic itself.”

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