Digital Brazil: Who needs cash?

Last updated: 18 December 2019

In the second of our series on Brazil’s digital revolution, I take a look at the growth of digital financial services that are having a real impact on peoples’ lives and businesses in one of the world’s most vibrant nations.

Brazil’s vast population consists of a young majority, including around a quarter under fifteen years of age. This makes for an astonishingly large proportion of the population who are digital natives and have grown up with the internet interwoven into every aspect of their lives. As the nation prepares in earnest to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014, it continues to build a reputation as a nation taking digital to its heart, helping make it a safer place in which to live, work and, of course, spend.

FEBRABAN, the Brazilian banking federation, found last year that a record 12.8 billion card transactions were made in 2010, making up almost a quarter of all financial transactions. No matter how small the payment, Brazilians are increasingly turning to credit and debit cards for everything from taxis, to meals, to haircuts.

Security-wise, this means the public can avoid carrying large sums of cash with them, making them less of a target for thieves. When people do use ATMs, they can take advantage of a range of options that let them withdraw money, pay bills by scanning a bar code, take out loans and deposit cash.

As the majority of the big banks in Brazil have migrated to chip cards, the country is one of the leading lights in Latin American technological modernization.

Online shopping is subsequently booming in the country, with eCommerce turning over R $8.4 billion (US $4.6 billion) in consumer goods in the first six months of 2011, according to the Webshoppers survey by Brazilian online consultancy e-bit. What’s more, Brazilians are also talking about their purchases on social networking sites, prompting greater focus from retailers on the customer service they offer, including via Twitter and Facebook.

LTE-spectra in Brazil are set to be auctioned off to providers this summer, which the GSMA expects will widen mobile broadband services from 75% to 95% of Brazil’s population. This would mean around 185,000,000 users would have access to high-speed internet, paving the way for further migration to ebanking and mobile payments. If the delays that have blighted its roll-out can be overcome, Brazil could share in the US $15billion boost the GSMA and AHCIET predict it will bring to Latin American countries. Now is not the time to delay if Brazil’s digital adventure is to progress.

How do you conduct your transactions in Brazil? Are you ready to accept mobile payments? Let us know your thoughts via the comment box below.