Episode 198 – The Rapid Rise and Bright Future of Pix with Carlos Brandt, Head of Management and Operations for Pix at the Central Bank of Brazil – Pix Series #3

Yvette Bohanan

April 26, 2023

POF Podcast

Wrapping up our three part series exploring Brazil’s Pix, Carlos Brandt, Head of Management and Operations for Pix at the Central Bank of Brazil, sits down with Yvette Bohanan and Elizabeth McQuerry to discuss some of the keys to Pix success and what the future looks like as Pix continues to transform Brazil’s payments landscape.

Yvette Bohanan:

Welcome to Payments on Fire, a podcast from Glenbrook Partners about the payments industry, how it works, and trends in its evolution.

Hello. I’m Yvette Bohanan, a partner at Glenbrook and your host for Payments on Fire. In this episode, we will be wrapping up our three-part series on Pix, with a discussion about its rapid rise and what the future holds. Joining me as co-host for this conversation is Elizabeth McQuerry.

Elizabeth, welcome and thank you for being part of the series.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Always great to join with you, Yvette. Thank you.

Yvette Bohanan:

All right. I am super, super excited about the guest we have with us today, so let’s get introducing here. We are delighted to be in conversation with Carlos Brandt, head of Pix Management and Operations for the Central Bank of Brazil. Carlos has been involved with Pix from the very beginning and led the Pix implementation launch.

He’s now leading and driving Pix’s evolving agenda. He coordinates the Pix forum, a permanent advisory committee for improvements to existing products and new product generation. So if anyone can help us appreciate the factors that have led to the rapid rise of Pix and peak into its future, it is Carlos.

Carlos, welcome to Payments on Fire.

Carlos Brandt:

Thanks for having me on the show, Yvette. Also, hi Elizabeth. I’m very happy to be here and to share with all of you the story of Pix and what it means for our retail payment plans. Okay, we all hear that Pix has been successful, or it’s a successful story for its massive adoption in the Brazilian society, including individuals, businesses, government.

But I think more than a fast and convenient way to pay, Pix has been important tool for the Central Bank to implement a set of very important public objectives in Brazil. So I’m very excited to have this conversation today.

Yvette Bohanan:

So are we. I think you’re bringing up a little bit of foreshadowing of all the things we want to talk with you about. But let’s step back for a second and say, Pix is in its third year, which is not that long. But even before it officially launched, there was a waitlist of people wanting to use, register their bank acct and be first early adopters of the system.

When you introduced the idea of a new payment system to the Central Bank, did you imagine this type of adoption from the very beginning? Or at what point in the journey did you know that Brazil was ready and willing to embrace a fast payment system, Pix, at this scale?

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah, when we introduced the idea of a new payment ecosystem here at the Central Bank of Brazil, we were very confident that we had a very strong case for building a new payment ecosystem from scratch. We had, by then, done a deep dive in our retail payment system,  to understand instruments, the gaps and so on.

So looking at the individual, most of our population already had smartphones with internet connectivity at that time, and we’re heavy users of mobile apps, like instant messaging app. And   people had the device and were already very familiar with the digital environment. They were ready, in that sense, were ready to adopt a digital payment instrument, but our payment instruments were very expensive for most of our population, especially credit cards. And the other payment instruments,  they had many frictions and if used, like poor user experience, which I said, operational hours and so on.

And when we looked at the other sides,  from the business perspective, they were facing many challenges in receiving payments. There was a high number of users of cash back then, a cost of acceptance, also sending payments, to long time freezing payments, to lack of information flowing with the payments, and so on.

So it was a matter of understanding the gaps and designing a new application that could allow new solution to meet these needs and to close this gap. And of course, to design such a system,  a new system, it was very important to get together with the financials industry and with many stakeholders, but also providers. And so we could build the application in a co-creation approach.

We got together, and of course, we worked with the industry to make sure that we were really building something that people and businesses wanted. So yes, we had the ability. The Brazilians were ready and willing to embrace it. And also we believe that it could be part of our society as a public good.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Just want to jump in on that one, Yvette. Public good, that’s a term we’re hearing more and more about. When you say that, what comes to your mind?

Carlos Brandt:

Well, it means that we had many public objectives that we wanted to achieve with a new payment application, with a new payment instrument. So not our only objectives with a direct relationship with payment, but also objectives that could impact the financial system, an objective that could mean a very positive impact in people’s life and in conditions for doing business and so on, so not restricted to the payment system itself.

So we could mention for public objectives, add convenience, I mean in the electronic payments, and of course, fostering electronic payments, but also promoting financial inclusion, improving competition in the payment system by creating an open and level playing field environment and focusing competition on the end user experience, offering a payment option for innovative business, so promoting good conditions for innovation in the real economy, lowering payment costs for payers and payees. In that sense of getting out this public objective, we consider Pix is a public good.

Yvette Bohanan:

Carlos, I have to say you make it all sound so easy. It’s like all of these people went on vacation with you and decided to fix all of the problems in all of the payment systems. It’s not an easy journey, though. It takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of courage to propose a new systemically important payment system.

When you think about it, you brought all of these stakeholders together. You have the forum. How do you measure the success of the forum and the success of Pix? Is it just the numbers? You’re talking about public good. You’re talking about a lot of things that are tangible but also intangible. How do you, personally, say, “We’re on the right track. This is the right way”? How do you lead the forum in making sure that they have the right guideposts and things in mind, as you evolve?

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah, that’s a great point because, as you said, it’s not just a number. For us, we measure the success as how powerful Pix has been achieving the public objectives that I mentioned. And as we have, of course, many public objectives with just one project, with Pix, we can look at different metrics for each objective.

Looking at the amount of transactions in the system, by September 2021, we had surpassed the market, well, of one billion transactions a month,   just a little before one year of the first year of operation. So in July 2022, we had reached the two billion transactions a month mark. And we are now very close to the three billion transactions a month mark.

So those numbers, they show how confident people of the population are in Pix and, of course, that the people are realizing over time the benefits of Pix for many use cases. But we can also think about how Pix has been helping the digitization of payments,   getting all those cash transactions and moving and getting into the electronic environment. And this is,   very important for our country.

We can also look, for example, at number of PSPs that have joined Pix. We have now over 800 participants offering payment service to the public.

Yvette Bohanan:

Wow.

Carlos Brandt:

So this number are an indication that we have, indeed, built an open ecosystem, which is, of course, improving competition in the payment system, which was one of our public objectives. We can take a look at cost of acceptance, for example. And with that, it’s our objectives, lowering payment costs in Brazil. When we see the average cost of a credit card payment, for example, in Brazil, 2.26% per transaction. The average, of course, debit card payment, 1.10%, and Pix is 0.29%. So this, of course, can make a difference for many merchants.

Yvette Bohanan:

That’s a huge difference.

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah, it is. It is, indeed. So we take a look at different metrics to try to see if we’re really accomplishing these public objectives. And of course, the forum has been very important, in that sense, because we are working together with the industry and different stakeholders. It is a permanent body that was responsible for the implementation of Pix and to provide, and it’s now responsible for the continuous evolution after they go live.

So the big forum is composed of working groups and specialist working group in security, which is, of course, very important to us. And it has been generally important that we implement a co-creation approach, which has been very good for the success of Pix.

Yvette Bohanan:

Are you seeing anything in those numbers that really surprised you? Like were you expecting 800 PSPs? Or any shifts in adoption that are moving volume from one payments method to another that are surprising or exciting?

Carlos Brandt:

I think we were surprised of how fast everything was going. We were confident that the population and people and businesses were ready to embrace Pix, but it was, indeed, very surprising on how fast everything went. These numbers do with… Well, as in three years of operations, I think they are impressive in that sense,   how fast everything went.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yes.

Carlos Brandt:

And when we take a look at the numbers and compare with Pix and to the international perspective, comparing for example with different systems or similar systems in different jurisdictions, we see that the adoption rate in Pix,   it’s really strong. After two years of operation, just after the second year of operation in Pix, we had reached the market of 100 transactions per capita, in Pix. Whereas the second highest number was 15 transactions per capita, to the second year of operation, which was Denmark.

So the speed of how fast everything went, that surprised us. But the numbers itself,   it was something that we were pursuing and we are very happy that we are achieving it.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

And to keep with the question of measurement and adoption, and if you look at what the data that Pix shares every month on the website, I mean really impressive data for the industry to understand and look at adoption. But one of the things you don’t get a good sense of is who is making the payment, per se.   we get some classes.

But I think you have some ideas about to what extent this is reaching into the population and increasing financial inclusion.   what can you share with us about understanding the class, that it’s C, D and E, and their usage of it. It’s easy to think you and me and Yvette might make payments with our smartphone, but what’s the bigger picture here?

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah, that’s a good point because this financial inclusion was a very important objective that we had, we would say. So we closely monitor how Pix is doing in all those classes. Also, we take a look of how many people are getting into the, or are being included into the financial system with Pix.

So as I said, that it’s something extremely important, in my view. It provides benefits for the individual, for the financial system, for the whole economy, for the country, this financial inclusion process.

And we all know that financial inclusion in a wide perspective usually starts with payments. Yeah, making payments is something that we do every day. What those people need to…   those that were excluded from the financial system in our space, they just needed a cheap and an easy way to make a payment.

We tried to implement a payment instrument with a no-cost policy and it was free for everyone. And we built it to be very intuitive and simple solution for everyone. As I said before, we take the UX very seriously. Here, in Pix, we have a UX manual in the Pix rule book, which is the minimal UX requirement to be followed and implemented by every PSP data to make sure that we would get the desired people-intuitive solution in every PSP, so no matter, in each one, the end user is connected to. That led to a very happy adoption for those were excluded from the financial system. They were opening account just to be able to pay with Pix.

So we have now, for example, 133 million Pix users in Brazil, which accounts for more than 80% of the adult population in Brazil. And out of this 133 million Pix users, 64 million users, or almost half of them, made its first digital transactions with Pix. And of course, this, that means financial inclusion. So the people that were excluded or underserved, they are now into the system.

And of course, these people, now they have access not only to payment, but they now have access to other financial products, like credit, like insurance, like investments. So putting here a different perspective or another way to see how financial inclusion is good for the country, the access of these people to different financial products, that means more business for the financial institution, for FinTech. So Pix is not only being good for the people that are being included, but it’s being good for the financial system, for the institution. So it’s being a booster for business and the financial system.

And more than that, Pix is also promoting digital inclusion. And many of these people, they had access in mobile phone and internet, as I said, but they didn’t have a way to pay online. So they couldn’t, for example, buy from a food delivery app, or for a rideshare app online, to payment and so on. And with Pix, these people now have the digital inclusion, so they can buy whatever they want. They can subscribe for a music streaming, for example.

So just like it is being good for the financial system, meaning the financial institutions, and it’s in fact getting more business, that this digital inclusion is also bringing more business for many companies in the real economy. So we like to take this wide look at the financial system or the benefits the financial inclusion brings to the system and for the country.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

I’ll just share, if I could, a funny little story, a recent trip to Brazil. Of course, I ask everyone what’s their experience with Pix? Do they like it? And how do they use it?

I was asking a waiter in a restaurant if people pay for their meals with Pix. Do they tip with Pix? He was probably wanting to move me along through this, of course, but then he finally just said, “Would you like my phone number?” So I could tip him using Pix. And of course, I was unable to do that, but it was a nice moment. Mm-hmm.

Yvette Bohanan:

It shows a big mind shift, doesn’t it? Your deliberateness with… First of all, I don’t think… And maybe this is just my niavete, but how many operating rules actually spell out specifics of the user interface, not just brand guidelines, but like you’re describing, so that you can increase adoption. That’s pretty interesting that you went down that path.

It sort of balance… You were being very open, like all use cases, open API, all the contemporary tech stack technology you can put your hands on, but also a little bit prescriptive, not just with regulation of who should participate, but also how to do this. It’s open and it’s moderated, in a way, like formula for that creation of a flywheel, that creation of momentum around adoption. People are familiar with it. They know how it’s supposed to behave. They know how it works. Everything is very consistent. I think that’s a very insightful approach to what you did.

It also reflects the mindset changes that are occurring here, that you’re alluding to. Banks changing their perspective on payments from a revenue center to stickiness and a springboard for other products and growing that overall pie of opportunity rather than staying and competing in one narrow slice. That’s a lot of change.

How many years were you working on this, again, before you got to the point where you were at the billion transactions a month mark? How long did it take you to put it all together with everybody?

Carlos Brandt:

We had one year setting up the general framework. Before 2018, we were doing some studies and that deep dive in our retail payment system and checking what people wanted, what people needed, businesses and so on.

In 2018, we set up a working group to put in place this general framework, how we would have a single instant payment ecosystem in Brazil and so on. In 2019, we had another working group, but we had the establishment or the launch of the Pix forum. And in 2019, we were working on the designing phase, so we were getting details, specifications for the development phase.

And 2020 was the development phase for the Central Bank of Brazil and for the PSP because, as you might know, the Central Bank of Brazil runs this settlement system or the settlement infrastructure that runs 24 by seven and so on. And of course, all the PSPs are connected to this settlement platform, but we also provide and run the database for the alias database and the database for anti-fraud information. And this was all developed in 2020.

So it was about one year to set up the general framework, one year to, or a little less than one year for the technical sophistication, and a little less than one year for the development phase. And of course, November 2020 was the go live, and since 2020, we’ve just seen the grow each month of that number of transactions, then in the Pix users as well.

Yvette Bohanan:

Before, during and today, you guys are putting the fast in fast payments here. Just that is an incredible timeline. That is quick.

Carlos Brandt:

It was a lot of work.   we were very committed and engaged to the timeline and so on.   it was fast to implement everything. I think one key factor for it speeding up all the construction of the system was how we engaged all the PSPs and the stakeholders around the project.

We spent a lot of time trying to show the PSPs and different stakeholders how we could all benefit from a new payment ecosystem. We could lower direct fees. We could lower here and there, but in the overall picture, there was a lot of room for everyone to benefit from the new ecosystem.

Yvette Bohanan:

Let’s talk a little bit about PSPs and merchants. You mentioned this is a very low-cost way to accept payment for merchants, which is great. You’ve sliced it down quite a bit from, say, the average fees. What did the merchants need to do to start accepting? Did they go straight to PSPs? How did that connection occur? And how hard or difficult or easy was it for a merchant to start accepting Pix?

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah. One of the things that we put in our general framework, as I said, in 2018, was that we would have a any-use-case approach. That means we would have to be able to offer a payment instrument that people could use in many… or   any situation, not in many, but in any situation.

So as the scheme owner, we needed to understand the need of these varied use cases and to design Pix in a way that the PSPs put new solutions for everyone and, of course, for all kind of business. So we had now as Pix users, micro and small businesses, liberal professionals, physical stores and online stores, stores of all sizes.

So for answering your question, for micro and small businesses and for liberal professionals, for example, they have complex needs. So what they usually need is just to have a relationship with a PSP and have the access to the banking apps or to the internet banking that they offer. And they can receive payments, just sharing their alias, their preferred key, the Pix key, as we say, or generating the QR code directly from that.

But for physical stores, e-commerce, and commerce, I mean online stores as well, the bigger corporations, they usually need the Pix integrated to the checkout solutions that they have. So this checkout solutions is linked or is plugged into their PSP, so when they standardize the API. So the checkout solution can ask for the PSP to generate a QR code and get the instant confirmation of the payment,   to the checkout procedures with a buyer.

So it really depends on what are the needs of each business. For those smaller ones, they only need a simple relationship with PSP, whereas if you are a bigger company, you need not only relationship with the PSP, but also a checkout solution that is integrated with Pix.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

One of the most impressive things about Pix is the way business payments have picked up. This is new and being, well, realtime instant payments, and it has really caught on in Brazil, like over 20% of the total volume,   of the… That’s a pretty big number at year three or less than year three.

just from a personal observation when you go out shopping, what kind of merchants do you see accepting Pix? Or where do you think the biggest area is that have gravitated to this most?

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah. It’s reaching now 27% of the total amount of Pix transaction have been P2M transaction. And it’s rising. It’s rising every month. What we see now, or what we saw during this first years of operations, that in the first year, we saw the small and micro businesses and the liberal professions, and so on, already heavily adopting Pix just because what I explained before, because they only needed a relationship with the PSP.

After this first year of operations, we started to see the bigger company get into the Pix ecosystem and starting to accept Pix payment because in this first year of operation, we saw the integration between softwares and the PSPs being built or being done. So after the first year, we saw the online store being the first one, when we come to bigger corporation, being the first one to adopt this and start to really access Pix as a mean of payment.

And that’s because the experience,   the user experience in the online environment with Pix is something that really added a lot of value for them because they had credit card that was only for some people. Sometimes they couldn’t rely on Boleto, for example, because it would take two days for to get the confirmation of the payment. And well, in many case, they need an instant confirmation to send the product or to do the business in a fast way. So Boleto wouldn’t be a way.

A debit card is not used on the online environment, so Pix added a lot of value for the online businesses. So in the second year, let’s say, the online stores were the ones that were heavily adopting Pix. And from end of the second year, and now we are seeing the physical store coming on board into the system and accepting Pix.

It doesn’t add a value in terms of user experience when you are in the physical store because you have to read the QR code, authenticate. Where if you have a debit card, you just can pay like a tap and go, or you just insert your card and type your PIN and gets a similar user experience.

But the cost of acceptance is making a difference for the physical store. So they are now also not only accepting Pix, but we are starting to see they trying to induce people to pay with Pix. Even, for example, discounts for when you pay with Pix, or trying to offer Pix as a way to pay for the client and so on. So we saw the movement of different types of business over time.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

It sounds like that on the online environment, it may have even brought new customers to the merchants that didn’t have debit card or didn’t have a credit card. Yeah.

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah, a lot of new customers. And we were talking with food delivery app here, a very big one in Brazil, and they reported to us that their customer base increased over 30% after they started to accept Pix. So it’s 30% more people using the app and, of course, make the revenue for the company, right?

Yvette Bohanan:

And for all of the purchases being made that… Yeah, it’s a-

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah.

Yvette Bohanan:

It’s a big cycle.

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah, yeah.

Yvette Bohanan:

Big cycle.

Carlos Brandt:

It is.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Is there anything else about the micro merchants that we might learn from Pix in the sense that this is, in many ways, the hardest of the challenges to digitize because not everyone has had an account. Other methods were deemed to be out of reach. And, of course, our NGO clients would love to learn from anything we can from Pix to see what might help in other areas where we still looking for more gains in this space. Because they’re excluded in many ways, and that’s not really acceptable in 2023.

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah. So I think they even benefit in different perspective. From the products perspective, as I said, was a low-cost, high-speed based payment instrument. It’s easy to use.   both for payer and payee is money solution to use.

We have, now, also good policies of… I mean good conditions for opening accounts because we have not only the traditional financial institutions, but we also have payment institutions, in fact, and so on, so we have a wide range of institutions providing the service.

But I think the perspective for the micro merchants and NGOs, and so on, is the customer base, as we’re talking about,   the number of people that they can reach with Pix being adopted by more than 80% of the adult population. And almost half of this people were cash based just a few years before. They were excluded from the financial system. So I think that’s something that could be well explored. And of course, I assume that and this would be also very valuable for an NGO.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Yeah, it would be great to be able to understand better, really, the sort of regional, socio and demographic background of different segments of users, obviously, on a anonymized way, but truly try to understand who and what is Pix being used for, right, and how deeply has it penetrated into new digital usage.

Carlos Brandt:

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, we can explore those numbers.   we have data available. We can look at it and we can see that people,   have been adopted Pix in all those levels. Even in terms of regional adoption,   we have numbers of adoption in every region in Brazil. I don’t have the exact numbers right now, but they do.   this is a big feature. This has been penetrated in different regions and different social classes in Brazil.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

One funny question for you, Carlos. Who likes Pix more, men or women?

Carlos Brandt:

I don’t know. I think it really doesn’t matter if it’s man or woman.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Okay.

Carlos Brandt:

I think everyone is using Pix.   we see, for example, people talking about vitamin P in Brazil, that they need vitamin P. What means vitamin P? It means pax, which is peace. It means praia, which means beach, and Pix. So they use it to tease for a…

it’s something that everyone can see in a good perspective putting Pix in songs, like the Happy Birthday song when you say, “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you.” And then in Portuguese you’ll say, “[foreign language],” which is a very traditional song for happy birthday, and the [foreign language] was changed to Pix. So they say, “[foreign language] Pix, [foreign language] Pix.”

everyone likes Pix. And they do good because people are really understanding that they can just benefit for this new payment instrument. They can do payments in a very easy way, and they can make their payment anytime. I think that’s people are kind of making fun of people who are on the fence, in a positive way.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Well, it’s amazing when, if you will, a product markets itself into daily life, right?

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah, yeah.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

who can ask for more than that?

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

I know we’re taking a lot of your time, but we can’t let you go without talking about the future. What’s the future roadmap for Pix?

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah. Well, I know it’s that we are trying to… We have this mindset of continual innovation and building new products over time should make Pix even better in terms of offering a good solution for any situation. So that the top priority right now that we are working on is the recurring payment. We believe that there is a strong need for this use case in Brazil because they are much dependent on big bank solutions and credit card, which are very expensive solutions for then. For this reason, they kind of only serve big companies currently.

So our solution is being designed to be very secure, flexible and extremely focused on user experience in both sides, the payer and payee. And in that sense, it could be widely… or it could be good to widely serve the use case of recurring payment, not only for big corporations but for business of all sizes and type, that of course that requires that they need periodic payment from their customers. This include not only the utilities providers, as big companies, but also school, gym, offline, online subscriptions, and so on. So this is something that has been,   really important, and we’re dedicating a lot of time and energy building this solution here.

We are also working on solutions for marketplaces. We know that marketplaces have specific needs and with… I could mention at least two needs here that are more related to payment. One is the DDP solution, so a marketplace which usually they make sure that the seller only receives the payment when they have a confirmation that the buyer receives the product. So the DDP solution requires two payments, in that sense. So the first one from the buyer to their marketplace and the second one from the marketplace to the seller.

The second need that I could mention is the shopping cart with multiple sellers. You could easily have, usually have multiple sellers. And of course, the buyer, they want to just have one shop experience of having just one transaction and buying things from different buyers. That requires a split payment. The first payment is from the buyer to the marketplace, and then the marketplace distributing or making different payments to the sellers. So we are now designed solutions and rules for marketplaces.

And we also have other products in our working agenda, but not in the current working agenda. It’s something that we have planned for the near-term future, like a new request-to-pay solution on a new request-to-pay platform in Pix, a new way to initiate Pix, and so on. So as I said, we have a mindset of continuous innovation, and now it’s time to looking at the needs of our society and bringing into the system new technologies, and so on.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Does cross-border get on that agenda for the future?

Carlos Brandt:

Yes, cross-border is also very important for us. It’s a little bit more complex to implement as it doesn’t depend only on us, of course. But Brazil is committed to the G20, with the G20 to improve the cross-border payments. We know and we’re seeing cross-border payment it’s facing some challenges of high cost, low speed, limited access, and insufficient transparency, and so on.

We know that many of the challenges have been addressed, or at least in our case, we’re trying to address, and we are being successful in addressing those challenges in the domestic level. So it’s natural to think about using the fast payment ecosystem to address these challenges in the cross-border environment as well.

We are, right now, studying two different approaches to use Pix as a, or being able to implement cross-border trans-payment. One is the bilateral link. So we are having conversation with some jurisdictions in order to explore the possibility of linking instant payments, two by two. It’s easier at first, of course, as we just need to have an agreement with one counterparty each time, but of course, it’s more expensive over time because we’ll need multiple arrangement to have a worldwide reach.

And another approach is the multilateral link. This is, I would say it’s our dream to have a link of instant payments ecosystem all at once, using a common framework or a common platform. This is a dream, but it’s a very complex solution to achieve because you need to have many jurisdictions agreeing, and a solution, and the rules, and so on, so it’s not easy to implement.

But Pix has been designed to be ready to establish these links in the future, especially by adopting the national standards, and so on. Since the very beginning, we already have the view that we would link Pix with different systems, so we adopted the international standards in that way.

So Pix International, as we call, using Pix in cross-border payment is a top priority in our case, here and in our working agenda, but it’s not possible, of course, at this time, at least, to predict the design, the final solution or the timeline for the product because, as I said, it doesn’t depend only on us.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Yeah, I started my career in cross-border payments, and only really incremental improvements have happened in that time. But it now seems we’re poised for, I think, potentially, really big advancements here. So I’m looking forward to see what happens in the improvements that come.

Yvette Bohanan:

So Carlos, you are in a very unique position. You’ve done this. You’ve got the T-shirt. You’ve launched. What advice… There are a lot of countries that still have roadmaps to establish or complete. They’re in the middle. What advice do you have for them when they’re contemplating this move?

Carlos Brandt:

We are payment experts. We tend to focus on technical aspects,   design the system and so on. So although there are key elements for designing the system, I would like to point here, in my conclusion, a different aspect here, and very important aspect, which is communication. You can have a great product, but if people are unaware of it, or if they don’t understand how it works, or if they receive the benefit of it, your great product is not going to be used. It’s just as simple as that.

So in our case, we first created a single brand and with monetary use for every PSP, composed of a simple but easy-to-remember name, easy to pronounce by speakers of any language. As I said, Pix, as its name, was incorporated in many jokes and songs in Brazil, so I think that have been attributed well, in that sense.

We also created a logo. And this logo has associations with speed, innovation, and makes easy for everyone to link with the product. And of course the single brand has been very important to allow people to recognize the product, people to clearly know when they’re using it, help communicating or help the communication process between end users. So it’s really working in that.

And then we set up a wide communication plan. We needed to reach the whole society. That needed the engagement of the Central Bank and all the PSPs, of course, but that was not enough. So in addition to that, we used the press. We used the events. We participated in many different and multiple events. They used Linkfluences, for example. We had meetings with them and given them all the information necessary for them to talk about Pix in their channels and their posts, and so on.

So this helped to spread the information. So the communication using multiple sources, in my opinion, were key to assure that the whole society were receiving the necessary information for the uptake of this was very important.

One last thing for an outtake here to mention is the engagement of stakeholders. Especially when you have public and private agents in the same ecosystem, as it is of Pix, as we have,   the PSPs and the Central Bank in the same ecosystem. The Central Bank has the scheme owner, and the PSPs have been the service providers to end users.

So we needed to promote the solid interaction among users,   among all these agents having the dialog, not only in this level, not only with PSPs, but with our stakeholders, not only the PSPs. So that we could build an ecosystem that could… I mean build solutions for everyone and make sure that we were really meeting the needs of our users, which is the most important thing, right?

Yvette Bohanan:

Critical. It is the thing.

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah.

Yvette Bohanan:

Trust and solving a problem always helps.

Carlos Brandt:

Yeah.

Yvette Bohanan:

Both.

Carlos Brandt:

Mm-hmm.

Yvette Bohanan:

Well, Carlos, we started this series thinking that we were going to talk about how you built a payment system. And it’s very clear after spending some time with you on this episode, you are building a digital economy. And hats off to you. Congratulations on the success so far. I know everyone will be watching closely to see how this continues to transform the payments landscape in Brazil and the economy of Brazil. Well done.

Carlos Brandt:

Thanks. Yeah, thank you.

Yvette Bohanan:

Well done to you and the team and the forum and everybody.

Carlos Brandt:

I was going to say that,   the credit is for everyone. It’s for the Central Bank of Brazil team, the PSPs that were very much engaged around the project that received the benefits and really worked hard to build solutions for the end users. So important to say that, it’s a product that was done by multiple hands here.

Yvette Bohanan:

Takes a village. Takes a country. And we hope you rejoin us on a future episode to share all of the success with all of the new work that you’re doing.

Carlos Brandt:

I’m so excited already for the next one.

Yvette Bohanan:

Yeah. Okay. Excellent. And Elizabeth, thanks for co-hosting with me. It has been a pleasure as always.

Carlos Brandt:

Oh.

Elizabeth McQuerry:

Thank you. It’s great to be part of the conversation. And thank you, Carlos, for joining us.

Carlos Brandt:

Thank you, Elizabeth.

Yvette Bohanan:

And thank you to our listeners. If you’d like to learn more about fast payment systems, please check out our other podcasts on this topic, including this series. You can learn more about fast payments in the US with one of our on-demand modules that you can get on the website, or attend one of our upcoming education workshops. We’re doing a tremendous amount of work in this space right now. It is a big moment in payments for people in the industry and for economies.

If you enjoy Payments on Fire, someone else might too. So please feel free to share this podcast on your favorite social media outlet. Payments on Fire is a production of Glenbrook Partners. Glenbrook is a leading global consulting and education firm to the payments industry. Learn more and connect with us by visiting our website at glenbrook.com.

All opinions expressed on our podcast are those of our hosts and guests. While companies featured or mentioned on our show may be clients of Glenbrook, Glenbrook receives no compensation for podcasts. No mention of any company or specific offering should be construed as an endorsement to that company’s products or services.

 

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