Local Payment Methods in Brazil: How PIX QR Works in an International Payment Gateway

Jan 17, 2023
5 minutes of read


Local Payment Methods in Brazil: How PIX QR Works in an International Payment Gateway

Having been a cash-reliant economy until recently, Brazil’s explosive growth as an eCommerce market is a clear indicator of its growth potential and dynamism. This is further supported by the increase from 38% in 2017 to 57.5% in 2022 for eCommerce penetration in Brazil, which shows a possible sudden shift towards the adoption of digitisation¹. One of the reasons for this is the emerging necessity for digital payment methods in the wake of the COVID pandemic and PIX QR appears to be the preferred solution².

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What is PIX QR?

PIX QR is a new payment method in Brazil that allows for fast and secure transactions using QR codes. It was launched by the Central Bank of Brazil in November 2020, as a way to increase financial inclusion and reduce dependence on cash transactions². It is a real-time payment system that enables individuals and businesses to make and receive payments at any time and without the need for a credit card or bank account. PIX QR codes can be used for both person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-business (P2B) transactions².

While similarities can be drawn between PIX QR and the conventional e-wallet, they differ in the sense that one is a real-time payment infrastructure that is fully-compatible between banks, and the other is typically an application that stores credit card information and funds in lieu of a physical wallet³.

The current trend of user penetration and digital adoption appears to be favourable for those wishing to utilise PIX QR for their own businesses. The Brazilian eCommerce market's CAGR is set to be 10.23% between 2022 and 2027, and that the country is currently the largest economy in Latin America⁴. Around the end of that forecasted period, user penetration is expected to be at 66.7%, with the projected revenue by then being USD94.63B thereby presenting a 116% increase in users and revenue growth of 239% respectively¹.

While the prospects of cross-border payments have yet to be fully realised, these statistics along with the enthusiasm in PIX QR’s adoption strongly imply that Brazilians may be receptive to greater cross-border digital trade, which is a boon for eCommerce businesses looking to expand into the country⁵.

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Benefits and Drawbacks of Using PIX QR for Online Payment Gateways

No matter how enticing a payment gateway may sound, none are perfect. Here are the potential benefits and drawbacks of using PIX QR:


  • Real-time Processing: Payments made using PIX QR codes are processed in real-time, which means that funds are transferred immediately and can be used right away. This can be especially beneficial for businesses that need to quickly access funds in order to pay suppliers or meet other financial obligations.
  • Multichannel Payments: PIX QR codes can be used to make payments through various channels, such as mobile apps, websites, and point-of-sale terminals, which can be more convenient than traditional methods that require the use of a credit card or bank account.
  • Unbanked Accessibility: PIX QR codes allow individuals and businesses to make and receive payments without the need for a bank account or credit card, which can increase access to financial services for those who are unbanked or underbanked.


  • Limited Acceptance in Rural Areas: While PIX QR is being widely-accepted, Brazil is still in the process of transitioning from a cash-reliant economy. This means that some merchants may not be able to accept PIX QR payments in more rural areas.
  • Internet Reliance: PIX QR being a fully digital payment method means that it requires an internet connection to facilitate payments, making it less reliable in areas with spotty connectivity.
pros and cons of PIX QR Brazil

How PIX QR Works in an International Payment Gateway

At the time of writing, PIX QR is limited to only Brazil, thereby necessitating the use of a third-party payment provider to act as the international payment gateway. How a transaction using PIX QR works locally is that the user scans the QR code generated by the merchant where, upon a successful scan, the payment is processed in real-time through PIX’s interbank infrastructure to transfer funds between the user and merchant near-instantaneously. Upon a successful transaction, both the user and merchant will be notified.

In a cross-border transaction using PIX QR, the buyer must first utilise a third-party payment provider that offers PIX QR as a payment method. Upon a successful transaction via PIX QR, the funds would then be transferred from the buyer into one of the payment provider’s international accounts before being disbursed to the foreign merchant’s account.

How PIX QR Brazil Works in an International Payment Gateway

What are the Fees Required in Using PIX QR ?

Currently, PIX QR transactions cost an average of 0.22% of a transaction’s value for merchants, which is remarkably cheaper than debit card and credit card payments which are set at 1% and 2.2% respectively in Brazil⁶. However, since PIX QR is limited to only Brazil for the time being, any fees incurred in cross-border transactions are the same usual costs that apply to most third-party international payment gateways like setup fees and FX costs.

Now that you know more about PIX QR, you are better equipped to tackle the challenge in localising your business in Brazil. To increase your odds of success, consider looking for a robust payment provider with a diverse selection of markets to choose from such as Tazapay. It not only boasts over 173 markets in its reach but also localised payment methods in more than 80 of those markets.


  1. eCommerce - Brazil | Statista Market Forecast
  2. Pix En (bcb.gov.br)
  3. PIX: The new instant payment system from Central Bank of Brazil | EBANX
  4. Brazil E-Commerce Market Size, Share, Growth | 2022 - 27 (mordorintelligence.com)
  5. Brazil's instant payment Pix & the future of cross-border payouts - ThePaypers
  6. Brazil's Pix ‘much cheaper' than card payments, paper by central bank economists shows | Reuters
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Local Payment Methods in Brazil: How PIX QR Works in an International Payment Gateway
Payments Resources

Local Payment Methods in Brazil: How PIX QR Works in an International Payment Gateway

Jan 17, 2023
5 min of read

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