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Cash is the main payment method for over 70% of Brazilians

Published on 10/10/2019 - Updated on 10/24/2019

Even with the increasing use of credit cards and digital payments, recent data from Locomotiva Institute shows that cash is still the main payment method for 71% of Brazilians. This alternative is higher among the lower-class population, which represent 89% of cash users. In addition, 80% of this populations’ age range is between 18 and 29 years old. The less educated population also represents a high percentage: 81% revealed they have only secondary education. Furthermore, 88% of the unemployed population would rather pay with cash, along with 81% of informal workers, 79% of self-employed and 81% of housewives.

For 77% of interviewees, it is easier to manage their financial lives with cash payments. Also, 66% revealed they have higher discounts when purchasing with cash. It is important to note that 30% of the adult population receive their salary in cash, in particular, those among social classes D and E (39%), and that 45 million adults in Brazil do not have a bank account.

Cash users profile in Brazil | Payment methods in Brazil


Digital solutions for cash payments

Even though Brazil is home to a high percentage of unbanked adults, this same population remains economically active: according to Locomotiva Institute, Brazilians transact over BRL 800 billion annually in cash. In addition, a high percentage of the population is also active online: We Are Social and Hootsuite showed that over 150 million Brazilians are internet users and 67% have access to smartphones.

This shows that, even with the increase in digital payments, fintech companies should not neglect such an important percentage of the population. According to Ralf Germer, CEO and co-founder of PagBrasil, offering domestic payment alternatives that meet the needs of the unbanked is crucial for ecommerce business success. “Cash payments are still predominant in the region and we do not often see merchants catering for them,” explained Mr. Germer to Ecommerce Foundation LATAM report.

This is why PagBrasil developed Boleto Flash®, a boleto bancário that provides payment confirmation in less than an hour, and PEC Flash®, a solution that allows e-shoppers to pay for their purchase in cash at any of the over 13,000 lottery agencies in Brazil. These solutions not only allow merchants to expand their payment alternatives but also provide digital shopping inclusion, as the unbanked may pay for their online purchase with cash.

Paula Martins is a journalist specializing in Marketing. Her areas of expertise include payment methods, digital payments, and e-commerce. Currently, ... View profile

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