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WhatsApp Launches Digital Payments In Brazil

After a “closed” beta launch in India back in 2018, WhatsApp announced the launch of digital payments in Brazil. According to WhatsApp’s blog, users will be able to safely send money or purchase something from a local business without having to leave the chat feature. 

Brazil is the second-largest market after India, with over 120 million “individual users”. 

With more than 10 million small businesses that are the lifeblood of Brazil’s communities, consumers are accustomed to sending instant messages via WhatsApp to get answers. Brazil’s small business owners have utilized WhatsApp as their main marketing tool. Not only can customers view the store’s catalogs, but now they can send payments for items they desire to purchase. By facilitating payments, WhatsApp hopes to bring in more small businesses into the digital economy fold, creating more possibilities for growth. 

Security And Convenience

WhatsApp brings security to the forefront as one of two security measures will be required to avoid any unauthorized purchases: a six digit PIN or using a fingerprint. Furthermore, during its inception, their system will support credit or debit cards from the following institutions: Banco do Brasil, Nubank, and Sicredi for the Visa and Mastercard networks. WhatsApp is also working closely with Cielo, which is the major payments processor in Brazil. 

Cielo is known as Brazil’s debit and credit card “operator” that specializes in processing payments. As soon as the news broke, Cielo’s shares rocketed 30%. This is an anomaly, given that stocks worldwide, as well as Brazil’s, were plunged into the red due fears of an imminent second wave of the coronavirus. WhatsApp has also set up its system as an “open model” in order to receive more partnerships in the future. 

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak,subsequent lockdown, and social distancing measures, WhatsApp hopes to make sending money to loved ones as quick and convenient as sending a message. 

Matt Idema, Chief Operating Officer of WhatsApp, said:

“We can’t have the kind of interactions with each other that we normally would, if you want to lend someone cash or if you want to buy something from a local business”.

Also, since payments made on WhatsApp are made possible by Facebook Pay, the hope is to make it feasible to use the same card information throughout Facebook’s line of apps. 


When it comes to making a purchase or sending money through WhatsApp, it will be completely free for users. However, for small business merchants, they will need to pay 3.99 percent for every transaction to accept payments through WhatsApp. 

Matt Idema added further:

“WhatsApp is heavily used there, both by people and small businesses. We think we can help grow digital payments, help grow the digital economy with small businesses, and help support financial inclusion.”

Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had already announced back in April of this year that the company was broadening its tools in order to help businesses via WhatsApp. 

Final Words

The recent outbreak has been a challenging time for millions of small businesses around the world. As more companies and small businesses have pivoted their business model in order to serve their customers online, WhatsApp has seized an opportunity to help more Brazilian customers and businesses send money and purchase desired goods. With this innovation, digital payments will increasingly become second nature.