Digital channels account for 67% of all banking transactions in Brazil

For the first time, mobile banking transactions accounted for more than half (51%) of all transactions in the country

Photo: Marcello Casal Jr/ Agência Brasil
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The cell phone is already the favorite channel for Brazilians to pay bills, make transfers, contract credit and other banking operations. According to a banking technology survey released on Thursday by Febraban, the entity that represents the sector, for the first time, mobile banking transactions accounted for more than half – 51% – of all transactions made in the country.

The trend, which had already been spotted in recent years, gained extra pace with the COVID-19 pandemic and mobility restrictions. Together, digital channels (internet banking and mobile banking) concentrate 67% of all transactions, or 68.7 billion, and are responsible for 8 out of 10 bill payments, and 9 out of 10 credit contracts.

The number of mobile transactions reached 52.9 billion in 2020, up from 37 billion the previous year. In all banking channels (cellphone, internet, POS, ATMs, branches, bank correspondents, and contact centers), the total number of transactions carried out by customers reached 103.5 billion, a 20% growth, the highest in recent years of the study, conducted by Deloitte.

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Among the 21 banks that participated in the entity’s survey, 8 recorded 7.6 million account openings through digital channels, a 90% increase over 2019.

“With the popularization of financial services through digital channels, we continue to advance in the important field of financial inclusion in Brazil, especially with mobile banking, which allows you to carry the bank in your pocket and access at any time or place, services previously restricted to bank branches. Practically all banking operations can be done electronically,” said Rodrigo Mulinari, the entity’s director for Technology and Banking Automation.

The jump in financial transactions through cellphones was 64% in 2020, due to the pandemic and emergency funds – factors that also affected the total number of active accounts in mobile banking. According to the survey, this number more than doubled in the period, from 92.4 million to 198.2 million, with 70 million accounts opened to receive emergency aids.

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Even so, the survey points out that, without considering the effect of emergency funds, the growth in total active accounts in mobile banking would have been 39% under normal conditions. Febraban considers as active those accounts that performed some operation in the last six months.

PIX: Two out of three transactions are carried out by people aged 20 to 39

Brazil‘s instant payment system PIX was also highlighted in the entity’s survey. The payment method, which completed six months in May with 87.3 million users (data from April), has increased its share on banking transactions, gaining ground over payments via traditional transfers such as DOC and TED. In May, the number of registered users on PIX reached 93.6 million, with an 18% average monthly growth rate.

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Among the 21 banks that took part in Febraban’s survey, PIX transactions reached 59.2 million in November, a number that rose to 338.2 million in March this year, a 471% growth. But the total figure, considering Brazil‘s Central Bank data, is even more expressive: in May alone, PIX recorded almost 650 million transactions.

The survey also showed that the number of registered users that receive over 30 payments via PIX in a month increased from 6 thousand, in November, to 519 thousand in March. According to Febraban’s survey, three out of four PIX transactions are person-to-person (P2P) and two out of three transactions are made by people aged 20 to 39.

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