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Brazil Country Report

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  • Published Date: April 2019

This Verisk Financial Research Brazil Country Report delivers commentary on Brazil's retail banking and payments landscape supported by historic and forecast data. The report gives detailed insight into the market's players, including cards networks, issuers, acquirers, banks, and PSPs, plus the Brazilian payments infrastructure, digital and mobile payments developments, demographic and consumer trends, regulatory drivers, credit card profitability, and more. Reports are available in both English and Portuguese language versions.

What you will learn from this Brazil cards market report:

  • Where Brazil issuers and acquirers are finding healthy income streams
  • Why cards are emerging as a favourite payment method for Brazilians
  • How the debit cards space will fare with new caps on interchange
  • Why the credit cards business in Brazil has great potential (for those who understand this market's dynamics)
  • What lies in store for the Brazil credit cards market as the global schemes contend with domestic challengers


  • Cards have begun to displace cash as the primary payment instrument for Brazilians: in 2017, total card purchase volume overtook the combined value of ATM withdrawals and cheques.
  • Brazil's retail banking network is extensive, with urban areas well served by branches, cash machines and point-of-sale terminals. There is also an extensive network of banking agents.
  • Brazil is in the process of developing a new instant payments platform. Once launched, instant payments will be available 24/7, with the service open to banks and non-banks alike.
  • The credit card is the preferred choice for Brazilians when paying for an online purchase. During 2018, credit card data shows cards used for an estimated 61 per cent of e-commerce transactions.
  • Brazil's cards market has substantial room for growth. With the country still having a large unbanked population, a mere 60 per cent of adults held a debit card in 2018.
  • Just one-third of Brazilian adults have a credit card, although those that do tend to use them frequently. The average cardholder has three cards and made 135 transactions in 2018.
  • New debit card interchange caps came into effect in October 2018. The maximum debit card interchange fee is now set at 0.80 per cent of the transaction value, with the average capped at no more than 0.50 per cent.
  • This represents a significant reduction, as the weighted average debit card interchange fee stood at approximately 0.82 per cent in early 2018.
  • Although high-interest rates discourage the use of cards for borrowing purposes, Brazil remains a highly profitable developing market.
  • Elo, the domestic card scheme launched in 2011, has steadily gained market share, particularly in the debit card segment – where it is on course to become the leading network.
  • Competition has increased in the merchant acquiring market, which has been historically dominated by Cielo and Rede. However, the pair still acquire over two-thirds of card transactions between them.

Brazil Payments Research | Report Contents

Key Points
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information

Appendices: Card Payments Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e-commerce payment methods

Appendix III: Cards market

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Contactless cards metrics
  • Credit card data numbers by type
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics

Appendix IV: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix V: The card networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network

Appendix VI: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VII: Acquiring and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions

Appendix VIII: Online acquiring

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

Brazil Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy:
Median income increased by 8.8% from 2012 to 2019, building on an even greater increase from 2000, thus helping to alleviate one of the most acute income-distribution inequality problems in the world.

Payments Environment:
The retail payments environment in Brazil is evolving in groundbreaking ways. For example, the value of payments by card now outstrip the combined value of ATM cash withdrawals and payments by cheque.

Cards market:
Payment cards are relatively well embedded among Brazilian consumers. While debit cards have gone well beyond the theoretical saturation point, the reality is that only three in every five adults possessed a debit card at the end of 2018.

Mobile Payments:
With the growth in smartphone use, mobile money has been superseded by neo-banks and fintechs such as Neon Pagamentos. These digital banking providers can provide a more sophisticated service at a lower cost than the e-money providers.

Profit Pool:
Despite high interest rates (which discourage borrowing via card), Brazil remains a highly profitable market that still has room for further development. Profit before tax is estimated to be around $8 billion for 2019, which amounts to a profit per card of $52.

Card Networks:
Visa and Mastercard have dominated the credit cards market for decades. However, as the domestic scheme Elo gains momentum, the Brazilian credit cards landscape is likely to continue changing. Visa Electron and Maestro have traditionally dominated the debit cards market in Brazil.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers:
The four largest banking institutions – Bradesco, Itau Unibanco, Banco do Brasil and Banco Santander – control the Brazilian credit cards market. As of December 2018, these issuers held almost two-thirds of credit cards in issue, with Bradesco as largest issuer, followed by Itau Unibanco and Banco do Brasil.

Acquiring and Processing:
Cielo and Rede continue to dominate the Brazilian merchant-acquiring market with a combined 71% market share of total acquired billed volume. The estimated number of merchants accepting credit cards in Brazil reached about 4.8 million at the end of 2018.

Online Acquiring:
Total card not present (CNP) billed volume in 2018 reached an estimated $51 billion, with credit card billed volume accounting for 94% of the total. The adoption rate of information technology by Brazilian consumers has been a key driver.

Regulatory and Markets Information:
Banks operating in Brazil belong to an industry group, the Federacao Brasileira de Bancos (Febraban). Uniting public, privately owned and foreign-owned financial institutions. There is a similar association of Brazilian credit card companies: Abecs.


Verisk reports providing invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit in Latin America. A dedicated team of analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and Latin American experts.

See more Latin America Country Reports or explore the full range of Payments Research Reports available for 72 markets worldwide.

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