Last updated: 22 December 2015
When contracting payment services from card acquirers in Brazil some aspects of the national standards should be taken into consideration in order for e-commerces to plan their monthly balance.
In this article we will describe the payment conditions applied by card acquirers to merchants in Brazil.
National Acquirer Policies
E-commerces that plan to expand into the Brazilian market have multiple options to allow for payments to be collected from local customers. It is actually possible to receive payment from Brazilians when adopting the services of international acquirers, however this strategy severely limits the size of the available audience, as only a small part of the population has access to credit cards enabled for international transactions. For most scenarios, registering a bank account in Brazil and partnering with a local acquirer is the most valuable of the options available, as it allows for payment to be received from national credit cards and even from methods specific to the country like Boletos Bancários.
However, in this case there should be a significant amount of financial planning to be done. There are several aspects of the Brazilian standards for payment that should not be overlooked, especially for companies operating in multiple territories. When these peculiarities of the Brazilian market are not taken into account, processes such as the reconciliation of receivables might turn into a especially cumbersome task.
The policies currently adopted by Brazilian payment acquirers in regards to the period required for transaction payment to be delivered to merchants differ from the standards adopted in major global territories. These terms should be taken into consideration in addition to the cultural traits of the country's consumers, such as the trend of splitting payment across multiple installments, as this combination means that merchants may receive their payments with a much longer delay than would be the case for consumers in other territories.
Below, we have compiled a list of the major payment methods adopted in Brazil and a description of the policies adopted by acquirers for the delivery of payment sums to merchants.
Bank Transfers and Debit Cards
Purchases handled through bank transfers are delivered immediately to the merchants bank accounts, although it should be noted that this method is only available for online stores or intermediators that have partnered with each of the major Brazilian banks. Debit cards are also one of the payment methods that are the most quickly delivered to merchants, following a single day since the processing of the transaction by local acquirers.
Brazil’s Boleto Bancário payment method, similar to debit cards, have their sums deposited into merchants bank accounts the following day after their certification by the banks. The main difference compared with other popular payment methods is that there is no set period to determine when the Boletos will actually be registered as compensated following their payment by customers.
In total, the process of registering a Boleto as paid rarely takes more than two days. The exact duration of this process depends on multiple factors, such as which banks were responsible for processing the payment. It should be noted that Boletos only have their payment processed during weekdays, which means that purchases made close to or during the weekends are subject to a longer delay in their certification.
Credit Cards are currently the most used payment method for online purchases in Brazil, and also the one that requires the most time for transaction sums to be delivered to merchants. Brazilian acquirers require payments to be delivered 30 days following the transaction processing, or more if there are multiple installments involved.
In the case of payments split into multiple monthly installments, 30 days are required for each parcel added. Purchases split into two installments, for example, have the first half of the transaction sum received after 30 days since its processing and the other half delivered 30 days later. Considering purchases in Brazil are commonly split into three or more months, this means that the payment from a single transaction might only be fully received by merchants upwards of 90 days after being processed by acquirers.
For companies that are subject to the regulations of multiple territories, these delays in payment compensation from purchases processed by Brazilian acquirers might be cause for issues. In case these merchants are interested in having all installments for their transactions delivered in advance, acquirers allow for their anticipation but in most cases charge a substantial fee for this service.
Purchases split into multiple installments are the ones that cost the most to be anticipated, as their fees are determined depending on the amount of months required for the payment to be fulfilled. Not only that, but as a general rule acquirers specify that the last installments should be the first to be anticipated, which results in their fees to be high enough to cut into the sales profits.
Due to these policies, and considering the amount of conversions that would be lost in the case no choices for multiple installment payment are provided, merchants partnering with Brazilian acquirers are advised to look into the options for payment splitting that best fits their needs, and negotiate transaction and anticipation fees accordingly.