Brazil’s Central Bank Authorizes Payments to Businesses via WhatsApp


WhatsApp users in Brazil can now use the messaging app to pay businesses.

Brazil’s central bank has authorized the launch of this service in the country, Guilherme Horn, head of WhatsApp Latin America, said in a post on LinkedIn.

“We built an open platform with the participation of several Brazilian acquirers to ensure that the greatest possible number of companies and individuals have access to the service,” Horn said in the post, according to a translation provided by LinkedIn. “This is important because we believe that paying people to businesses via WhatsApp will have a big impact for everyone, bringing ease and simplicity to users while helping small and medium-sized businesses increase their sales.”

Meta Platforms-owned WhatsApp began allowing users in Brazil to send money to friends, family and loved ones through its app in 2020, though the functionality was held up for a year after the country’s central bank said it had concerns about the system.

In May 2022, it added a “Pay” button that is available directly on a user’s contact card and makes it easier for them to do so.

“We’re always working on new ways to unlock the potential of payments on WhatsApp,” Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s head of commerce and financial technologies, told PYMNTS at the time. “By adding a Pay button to the contact card on WhatsApp, we hope to make sending payments even more intuitive.”

Having achieved regulatory approval for payments to businesses, WhatsApp is now finalizing tests it has been conducting with Cielo, Fiserv, Getnet Brazil, Mercado Pago and Rede, Horn said in his LinkedIn post.

“WhatsApp users will soon be able to pay for products and services directly in a conversation with Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards,” Horn said in the post, per the translation.

By building upon its existing peer-to-peer (P2P) capabilities in Brazil by enabling payments to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Meta is using the country as a test space for the business messaging services that have shown promise at a time when the company’s advertising business has been slowing, Reuters reported Thursday (March 2).

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on his broadcast channel on Instagram that “people will be able to pay small businesses right on WhatsApp,” per the report.