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After a pilot run in India, WhatsApp launched its digital payment system across Brazil, allowing users to send money to individuals or local businesses within a chat, attaching payments as they would a photo or video.

The Facebook-owned messaging service collaborated with Cielo, Brazil’s largest credit and debit card operator, to process the payments. The news sent Cielo’s shares soaring 30% on a day when stocks worldwide, including in Brazil, were in red due to fears of a second coronavirus wave, Reuters reported.

The Brazil launch is the first nationwide rollout and will introduce the ability to directly pay a business. WhatsApp has already tested the system in India in 2018.

The company has over 120 million individual users in Brazil, its second-largest market behind India.

“WhatsApp is heavily used there, both by people and small businesses,” Matt Idema, chief operating officer of WhatsApp, speaking of Brazil.

“We think we can help grow digital payments, help grow the digital economy with small businesses, and help support financial inclusion.”

Many of Brazil’s small businesses already use WhatsApp as a marketing tool to answer questions or send catalogs, Idema said.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in April that the company was expanding tools for businesses in WhatsApp.

The rollout in Brazil was long-planned, but may the launch comes at a very particular time, and it might help users who are shut in during the coronavirus pandemic, Idema said.


Facebook’s WhatsApp brings digital payment to users in Brazil

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