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Brazil’s ‘Cash is King’ culture makes space for convenient QR Code, Gift Cards

Cash is still the king in the largest economy of Brazil. It accounts for over a third of all its payments. However, the new booming alternative payment methods like Gift cards and QR codes make up their place.

The popular use of QR codes is soaring high over the last year when Brazilians switched to make online purchases rapidly. Cash is still a widely used payment method in Brazil. More than 80% of Brazilians have made their online purchase this year. Among them, half of the consumers have found online purchases quite agreeable. 40% of them are saying that they will keep up with frequent online shopping.

“What we have seen is a doubling of the numbers in channels like grocery shopping and other behaviors that used to be done out of home,” said Fernanda Carbonari, regional vice president of Brazil at Blackhawk Network, about gift cards and QR payments. “People are switching from dining out to cooking at home, from going to the cinema to home entertainment. And it has led to a pretty impressive rise in the usage of digital payments and QR code payments.”

The surge of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced more than 210 million people to stay at home. It has offered quick growth in digital payment. But the country has relaxed much of its COVID restrictions this year, and people are returning to shops. The use of QR code payments and gift cards is showing reliance as many buyers can use that outside instead of cash.

Carbonari believes this continuing popularity of QR codes in the world’s sixth most populous notion comes due to its ease of use. The same is applicable to gift cards.

“QR codes have joined the game because they merge two worlds, online and physical,” she said. “My two favorite words for business are ‘convenience’ and ‘seamlessness.’ For consumers, it doesn’t matter if you’re at home or in the bank; you will consume at the most convenient moment of the day for you, and brands know they need to be there.”

Carbonari said that QR Codes and gift cards have become ubiquitous in society due to the pandemic. Almost everyone knows how to use it.  In Brazil, at least 74% of consumers are ready to experiment with their QR code purchases. It is one of the highest numbers in the world.

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