The Brazilian market recently saw the introduction of new card acquirers due to regulatory changes in this sector. In this article we will look at the history of credit card acquirers in Brazil and highlight the largest companies operating in the country.
Monopoly, Regulatory changes and Introduction of new companies
Credit card acquirers in Brazil have historically been associated with affiliated credit card networks, the large networks such as Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club and American Express all had exclusive acquirers in Brazil.
This trend changed significantly during the years of 2009 and 2010, when the Brazilian Federal Reserve and the Brazilian Council for Economic Defense instituted that the monopoly of acquirers over credit card networks was harmful to the development of new competitors.
The new regulation not only made it possible for the introduction of new credit card acquirers to the Brazilian market but also changed the way dominant acquirers worked and even how they were named. Visanet, the credit card acquirer with monopoly over the Visa network and largest company in this sector in Brazil, changed their name to Cielo in 2010 and started capturing payment from Mastercard and other networks, while their competitor Redecard simultaneously started capturing payment from Visa and other networks and changed their name to Rede in 2013 after an investment by the Brazilian bank Itau.
However, regulatory changes did not diminish the market dominance of the two largest credit card acquirers and neither created impediments for these companies to have monopoly over minor card networks, which is the case of the Elo network for Cielo and the Hiper network for Rede. According to recent statistics, Cielo and Rede still handle close to 90% of all credit card transactions in Brazil, with various new acquirers competing to gain a larger share of the transactions, the biggest of which is national company GetNet, that was bought by the bank Santander in 2013.
Card acquirer Cielo, established in 1995 with the name Visanet Brasil by Brazilian banks Bradesco, Banco do Brasil, Banco Real and Banco Nacional, along with international card network Visa, remains the market leader for the card acquirer sector in Brazil.
Cielo had a successful IPO in 2009 and established numerous partnerships with financial institutions and card networks in the country over the years. The company states that their systems processed the equivalent of 9.3% of the Brazilian GDP in 2013, with 5 billion transactions taking place during that year.
Their services encompass not only point of sale card machines but also e-commerce payment solutions and mobile device platforms designed for small businesses. Some of the card networks accepted by Cielo systems include Visa, Mastercard, Elo, a national network established by Brazilian banks, American Express, Diners Club and Discover.
One of the largest card acquirers in Brazil, Redecard was founded in 1996 by Citibank, Banco Itaú and Unibanco after national financial services company Credicard split their payment capture operations from their main operation. The company was acquired by Banco Itaú for BRL 10 billion in 2012 and changed their name to Rede and altered its visual identity to match the one of Banco Itaú.
Rede claims that their services are present in every Brazilian city powered by electricity and with telecommunications, and registered BRL 1.8 billion net profit in 2013. Their products include card machines for points of sale, payment solutions integrated with management systems, e-commerce payment platforms and mobile device payment solutions. Some of the card networks associated with Rede are Mastercard, Visa, their proprietary Hipercard brand of credit cards, Discover and Diners Club.
Card acquirer GetNet was founded in 2003 by Brazilian entrepreneurs focused on providing innovative solutions for payments in the country, such as enabling top up of pre-paid telephone subscriptions through virtual methods. Since 2009 their systems have been capturing payment from major card networks, such as Visa and Mastercard, and in 2014 the company was bought by the bank Santander for BRL 1.1 billion.
GetNet recently achieved 6% market share of the card acquirer sector in Brazil and is currently present in more than 100.000 businesses. Their products include a wide range of solutions, including point of sale machines, payment platforms for telephone subscription and transportation cards, payment security and fraud detection services, electronic transaction processing, call center and data center services. Some of the credit card networks accepted by their systems include Visa, Mastercard and national networks Good Card and Cabal.
Brazilian bank Banrisul created the Vero brand of card acquirer in 2009, first as an exclusive acquirer of the bank’s credit cards and vouchers and later turned into a multi network acquirer. Their solutions include point of sale machines, online payment platforms and mobile device payment solutions. Vero systems process payments from networks Visa, Mastercard, and national brands Verde Card and BanriCard.
Payment acquirer Stone was established in 2014 by banks BTG Pactual and Panamericano and by investment group Arpex Capital. Their products include point of sale machines, e-commerce and mobile solutions and digital payment processing. Stone systems currently capture payment from Visa and Mastercard.
North American acquirer Elavon established operations in Brazil in 2012 as a joint venture with Citibank. Their products include point of sale machines, e-commerce payment solutions and digital payment processing. Elavon’s systems capture payment from card networks Visa, Mastercard, Diners and Discover.
North American company Global Payments started operations in Brazil in 2013, in partnership with Banco de Brasília. Their products include point of sale machines and electronic payment processing. They currently only accept card networks Visa and Mastercard.
North American company First Data started operating payment acquiring services in Brazil in 2014 with the Bin brand, following a partnership with Banco Cooperativo do Brasil. Their products currently include point of sale machines, digital payment processing and e-commerce payment platforms. Bin systems capture payment from networks Mastercard, Visa and Cabal.