Payment Methods

Airbnb Upgrades Payments System For Rio Olympics

airbnb brazil payment acceptance

With the 2016 Olympics quickly approaching, Airbnb is looking to change its payment acceptance game within its fourth-largest market.

Brazil may be facing an economic crisis, but Leo Tristao, country manager for Airbnb, told Fast Company that business is still booming.

“They have a space; they have a house,” Tristao said regarding Brazilians. “They are joining Airbnb, and that is becoming a source of income.”

"The recession environment, in a way, [is associated with] our growth in Brazil. We can see that in the numbers,” he added.

Last year, the company updated its payment infrastructure in Brazil by establishing local partnerships with payment processing companies. The move has allowed Brazilians to use their preferred payment method — national credit cards processing in Brazilian Reais (BRL) — to partake in booking rooms on the homesharing site.

According to Tristao, nearly 45 percent of the reservations made in Rio in the weeks surrounding the Olympics have been booked by Brazilians, a stark difference from the just 6 percent of bookings make by Brazilians on the site back in 2014 during the World Cup.

These numbers have been able to grow due to Airbnb’s acceptance of two common local payment methods — Boleto and an option that enabled financing.

Boleto provides those who don’t have credit cards with the ability to participate in eCommerce by printing a ticket with a barcode during online checkout that they can then take and pay at a local store.

Airbnb gives guests 24 hours to pay and encourages hosts to wait three days before they process the payment they receive, Fast Company confirmed.

The company also made a change that enables guests to pay for their bookings in three separate installments with individual due dates.

By building a Paypal-like payment processing company internally — rather than partner with any third-party payment companies — Airbnb is able to accept 32 different currencies and pay hosts in 65 different currencies.

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