Brazil’s mobile payment apps are dotting the country

Digital wallets: it seems that mature economies are starting the ditch the cold hard cash with Google Wallets and in the most recent months Apple Pay. But, what is happening in emerging economies like Brazil?

The digital wallet concept is giving its first steps there, however there is definitely a demand for it as Brazil achieved a score of 33.4 on the MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index, which measures consumer readiness, environment, infrastructure and regulations concerning the non-bank money issuance. Already eyeing on this massive potential, from September 2014, Mastercard’s MasterPass wallet is being accepted in few of the biggest chains of home electronics/furniture Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio – an equivalent of Argos in the UK or Best Buy in the US – and the supermarket Extra, which is part of Wallmart.

A little before that in April 2014, the Brazilian banks Bradesco and Banco do Brasil launched the digital wallet Stelo, which in the second half of the year had already 200 thousand users and it’s already accepted in over 20 online stores as well as physical stores.

PayPal and the Brazilian equivalent PagSeguro are already very popular, however few startups such as Zoop, Akatus, and GoPay are already dotting the market. Another interesting example is the home-grown start up PicPay based in the Espirito Santo state. The idea behind their mobile app is to make an analogy with a real wallet: once registered the new user will be able to sync their phonebook and see which of their friends already has PicPay – however is also possible to send money to those who haven’t got the app. In this case, the person will receive a message – that can be sent via Facebook , Whatsapp or SMS – inviting them to create an account. As well as P2P payments, PicPay is already being accepted in 500 stores.

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