PagBrasil Makes Its Move on International Payment Scene

Ultimately, it is the behavioral expectations of end-users that drive payments advances forward. And increasingly, what end-users want are streamlined, expedited and intuitive ways to pay for goods and services.

Take for example Brazil, where the introduction of Pix, a real-time payment system launched by the Central Bank of Brazil in late 2020, has spurred significant changes in the country’s digital payment landscape.

Since Pix was launched, about 73 million Brazilians have been brought into the financial system, Ralf Germer, CEO and founder of PagBrasil, told PYMNTS’ CEO Karen Webster.


Mobile phones have become the primary device for online purchases in Brazil, and Pix’s integration with mobile platforms has made it easier for consumers to complete transactions using their smartphones.

“Brazilians are very open to new things, it is a part of the country’s culture,” Germer said. “People just try things out and if it works, we’ll continue using it. If it doesn’t, we will try something else. This helps drive digital adoption.”

What this means, he added, is that by accepting Pix payments merchants can tap into a larger customer base.

And building on the success of Pix, PagBrasil is set to launch two new extensions: Pix Roaming and International Pix. These solutions aim to enhance the payment experience for both Brazilian consumers traveling abroad and tourists visiting Brazil, and is meant to expand the use of Pix globally as it competes with other international payment methods.

Based on the assumption that Pix will become the “number one” payment method in Brazil, displacing other methods, including cards, “we have to invest in Pix and create more solutions,” Germer said.

Pix Roaming is designed to enable foreign tourists to make payments using their existing digital wallets or banking apps integrated with the Pix platform, while International Pix provides the inverse solution and enables Brazilian travelers to use Pix for payments while abroad.

Redefining the Payments Landscape

Germer explained that in Brazil, many merchants, from street vendors to large retailers, prefer cash or Pix payments, and this preference can pose challenges for tourists who may not have access to Pix. Pix Roaming is designed to enable foreign tourists to make payments using their existing digital wallets or banking apps integrated with the Pix platform, and addresses this issue by allowing tourists to use their home country’s digital wallets to make Pix payments seamlessly.

As for Brazilian travelers, they often run into the opposite problem when they are traveling: They can’t use Pix and often face high fees and unfavorable exchange rates when using credit cards or cash abroad.

With International Pix, Germer noted, travelers can make payments in their local currency, which is then converted in real-time for the foreign merchant. This innovation not only reduces transaction costs for Brazilian consumers but also simplifies the payment process, making it more convenient and cost-effective.

Merchants do not need to invest in new hardware or undergo complex setup processes to integrate the two new Pix solutions, with Germer noting that the acquirer handles the technical integration, enabling Pix payments on the existing point-of-sale (POS) devices.

All that’s left, at that point, is trusting that the end-user will decide to try something new like the Pix extensions, realize their benefits, and stick with them.

Inclusive Side Effects

Germer also noted that the surge in financial inclusion has not only facilitated monetary transactions but has also catalyzed digital connectivity across the country. As Brazilians adopted Pix for peer-to-peer payments, they became more comfortable with digital and mobile platforms, driving a broader digital transformation.

Brazil’s rapid digital adoption is noteworthy: PYMNTS own global intelligence revealed that Brazil was one of the most digitally connected countries among 11 surveyed, surpassing even traditionally mature economies like the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

But while this digital readiness is partly attributed to cultural factors and a young, tech-savvy population willing to embrace new technologies, the benefits are accruing across merchants and retailers as well.

“The businesses realized that Pix is much more efficient and better for liquidity because it is settled instantly, while credit cards in Brazil are only settled after 30 days. It’s also much more cost effective,” Germer said, adding that Pix transactions typically incur lower fees compared to credit card payments.