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After the euphoria passed with the launch of WhatsApp Pay, or Facebook Pay, it is clear that this novelty (I would not say it is an innovation) was a rout the big banks, Cielo and the flags that are born connected to the arrangement: Visa and Mastercard and, soon, Elo.

But I see that strategically it is a very strong movement in defense of the current payment infrastructure against the novelty that is coming: the PIX.

But even in the WhatsApp model there are some sacrifices for these incumbents, who are not small, as they say “the rings are gone but the fingers are left”, and what fingers! Let's look at the most obvious points:


If a goal could be worth 2 points in the football match, that would be it. WhatsApp in Brazil is universal. Everyone has it, period!

If you don't have WhatsApp these days, you're almost considered to be from another planet (or North Korea). Aside from the possibility of joining Facebook and Instagram.

On the other hand, the PIX will require time and investment to be known by the large population.

There is also the willingness of PIX participants to organize and invest in communication to make this happen, since it seems to me that the BC has no mandate to spend public money on marketing campaigns.

But I am not saying that this cannot happen. I just find it difficult.

User Experience (UX)

One more goal from the outside, with no chance for the goalkeeper.

WhatsApp has been used for years and is known to everyone, 120 million Brazilians. There will be just one more icon in the share function.

The PIX has the payment QR Code. Look! WhatsApp too! Only today he is limited to sending a message to a specific phone (click here to find out). Of course, they will also create a way to send a payment.

In addition, WhatsApp will command a unique experience, created by a company, Facebook, which specializes in the subject, while PIX will depend on banks and wallets, and as much as the BC has made a very cool manual, each one will have your UX.


Here is another bet, but for me the winner is WhatsApp.

It already has a strong user base, an APP aimed at small businesses and a family of APIs ready for eventual integrations. While PIX is still going to start in November… sorry PIX. Another goal for WhatsApp.

Cost to the customer

Well, another goal for WhatsApp Pay. It's free! Better only if you have CashBack (Wallets, do you still have breath?).

And the BC accused the coup. For the first time I saw Carlos Brandt and Brenno Lobo, from the Central Bank – by the way, they are doing an excellent job leading the PIX project – saying that they are going to plead with CMN for a free package for individuals to use PIX .

For those who missed the LIFT Talks on the PIX I recommend watching:

Revenue for banks

Here the goal is for banks, flags and buyers.

As friend Edson Santos rightly put in his article ‘Facebook Pay – payment via WhatsApp, the solution is based on the old-fashioned card scheme infrastructures.

And in the old-fashioned way, costs and revenues were kept. There is no more P2P revenue between users, who were already dying with the profusion of free TEDs offered by the new digital banks (the rings are gone), but kept the MDR revenue, which is the fee that buyers charge from merchants cards and is distributed in the chain.

This is very important, because at PIX there is a risk of this revenue disappearing, mainly for chain intermediaries, buyers and brands.

Arrangement control

Wow!! Bike goal! As mentioned above, old-fashioned card infrastructures were used and with that we also have the difficulties and costs of using these infrastructures.

Today the system's backbone is Visa Direct and Mastercard Send, so the system is limited to banks and acquirers integrated with this system.

The ELO system and Bradesco will be joining soon. This greatly limits the entry of new players and wallets due to the complexity of the chain and practically bars the entry of wallets that are not card issuers.

I want to see how other flags like Hipercard or Cabal will come into this arrangement. And finally, how the other buyers will enter the circuit. This can take time and put Cielo in a very comfortable position during this period.

Business cost

Here is a goal for each side. Although I strongly believe that the PIX will have a much lower cost due to the issue of ease and disintermediation of the chain, at the end of the day, retailer wants to sell.

Everyone is finding the 3.99% expensive, but expensive is not to sell for not offering the solution. And deals with major chains and retailers with cheaper MDR rates will certainly be signed.

I think WhatsApp is going to be a great sales facilitator and so the cost will not make a difference for retailers at the tip. Especially the small ones, who today pay dearly on platforms that do not help in almost anything in their sales.

In short, this WhatsApp movement was a great goal for those involved. Cielo, Nubank, BB and Sicredi take the lead. Bradesco should come soon.

WhatsApp broads ahead with scale, clear revenue model and without entering the Wallets fight (see my post “In a Gold Rush, don’t dig gold, sell shovels”).

But this article here is just a provocation to discuss what lies ahead. Of all, the only certainty is that although important, this announcement is only the beginning of what is to come.

About the author

Carlos Lino is an entrepreneur, founder of Zigpay, a system for payments at events and ballads, and of iUPAY, whose Rede iU solution allows instant payments between financial institutions.


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