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Brazil Will OK WhatsApp Payments If Facebook Follows Rules

 |  July 21, 2020

The payments program from messenger service WhatsApp will be allowed to go forward in Brazil, the country’s central bank announced, so long as all rules are respected, Reuters reported.

Brazil suspended services on the implementation of the new payment system last month, stating it was worried about the potential for monopolies to arise from the partnership between WhatsApp and large international companies like Visa and Mastercard. Concerns over data protection and privacy also cropped up, Reuters reported.

Reuters reported that Brazil’s central bank director, João Manoel Pinho de Mello, speaking at a live online event from Genial Investimentos, said the country viewed Big Tech coming in as a “huge opportunity.”

“Everyone can participate,” he said. “We will allow it, no problem. People can take whatever path they want, [do] whatever initiatives they want,” so long as companies obey Brazil’s regulations.

WhatsApp’s partnership with Brazilian card operator Cielo was green-lit early in July after also initially being subject to skepticism, PYMNTS reported. Cielo was allowed to continue a partnership with WhatsApp initially because it assured regulators that there would be no stifling of competition. Cielo, the largest acquirer in the country, has a 41% claim to the market share there, and regulators worried because WhatsApp could boost its card transactions by 10%.

Mastercard and Visa were initially blocked from performing payments with WhatsApp in Brazil because they had failed to seek regulator CADE‘s permission first, although officials said the company had never actually been forbidden from operating there.

Roberto Campos Neto, president of the bank, said the primary concern was simply making sure all of Brazil’s regulatory rules were followed to the letter, due to the potential for WhatsApp to affect the economy.

WhatsApp is extremely popular in Brazil. It has 120 million users, making it the second-largest market for the messenger app after India.

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