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Brazil’s mobile payment battle: mobile card readers

By Lucy Harris|2018-09-12T19:58:12+00:00September 19th, 2014|Tags: , , , |

The 22 million (and counting) SMEs and micro business and mobile penetration upwards of 132% created a fertile ground for mobile payments in Brazil. The promise of new revenue streams has attracted multiple players to the world’s fourth-biggest mobile market and has created a highly competitive mobile payment landscape.

Who are the players who will contribute to the mobile payment revolution in what is considered one of the key emerging markets? We’ll take a look at them below.

For an overview in Portuguese, please see Leitores de cartão: qual o melhor?

Rapid mobile payment growth, more expected

As of 2012, the adoption of services or products in Brazil looked like this: mobile payments accounted for 0.3% and mobile banking for 3.1% of total payments, smartphone adoption was at 15% (now 44%) and credit card use at 29%, and 56% of the 196.7 million population had a bank account.

In 2012, only 500,000 users were registered for mobile payments, due to the lack of infrastructure. This changed in 2013: multiple mPOS system providers, such as Swedish iZettle and German Payleven, stepped into the country to contribute to developing the infrastructure. Native PagSeguro launched its device to receive card payments via an app the same year. Frost & Sullivan predict that there will be 80 million registered mobile-payment users by 2018.


Known as UOL, and coming from a web platform background, PagSeguro has pushed hard to be a leading provider for small businesses wanting to receive card payments. Its two mobile card readers working via a mobile app, cost R$ 118.80 (credit only) and R$ 358.80 (debit and credit) respectively. Debit card transactions are charged at 2.39%, while credit fees ranges from 3.19% to 4.19%.

In 2015 PagSeguro made a massive push for its mobile card terminal “Moderninha“, which operates from a built in sim card, rather than via a mobile app. Aided by TV ads with actress Alessandra Negrini it has gained a certain market traction, but lacks the in-app features that draws some customers to the reader and app combo.

Cielo Mobile


Along with PagSeguro, the biggest player in Brazil is Cielo. Their Chip & PIN reader costs R$ 11.90 monthly (connection fee) and 3.19% for debit, 4.05% for credit, 6.99% for partial payments credit (six payments).

This system can take an enormous variety of cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, Elo, Discover, Banescard, Agiplan, Credz, JCB, Mais!, Cabal, Sorocred and Aura.

For a review in Portuguese see Descubra como usar o Cielo Mobile


The German SumUp aims to challenge the mobile payment alternatives currently existing in the market. SumUp’s Signature card reader costs R$99, and instead of charging a monthly subscription, its fees start at 3.1% per transaction. The funds are deposited within 30 working days.

If you want the payment on your account sooner, you can be charged 4.6% to get it within 5 working days.

For a full review in Portuguese see SumUp conquista o mercado com leitor de cartão barato


Since August 2013, the Swedish company iZettle has been present in Brazil as well. Compared to SumUp, it has higher fees, but also a more sophisticated service. The iZettle Chip & Sign card reader costs R$99, while the Chip & PIN reader costs R$420.

The transaction costs start at 3.99% for debit cards for the Chip & PIN reader. Credit cards are charged at 5.99%. Instalment payments start at 6.99% for two instalments, and rise 1% per added instalment, with a limit of 12 instalments. When it comes to depositing funds, iZettle promises users access to received payments within two business days.

See also our Portuguese review iZettle: a solução em vendas com cartão para pequenas empresas?


Boasting a client base of 60,000 (as of January 2014), PagPop differs from the aforementioned players by offering two types of accounts: one that comes with a free card reader, and one with a monthly fee. The main difference between the two account types is the transaction fee: the first has a higher, 4.48% fee, while PagPop charges only 3.98% for the second.


Launched in April of 2013, Iugu drops the idea of a card reader and makes use of QR codes and a mobile app instead, because Brazilians “are afraid to use their bank cards”. The payment is processed by the customer’s device, not the seller’s, but to get started the user needs to register their credit card data.

Iugu’s fees are higher compared to the previous players: it charges R$0.30 + 7% per transaction, but customers can opt to pay in up to 12 monthly installments, although in this case the fees go up to 13%.


One of the first mPOS system players in Brazil was the German Payleven, which at least for a period of time offered a free Chip & PIN card reader.  The transaction fees are competitive. For example, Payleven charges 2.69% for debit card use, while keyed or credit card transactions cost 3.39% or 4.39%, depending on how fast you want access to the funds.

Payleven also offers a variable transaction fees, which means that higher volume merchants get lower rates.


Zoop considers itself Latin America’s first mPOS system to launch a Chip & Pin and FNC/Contactless device, so merchants can accept fully encrypted payments anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately, Zoop is still secretive about its fees, so we’ll update the post with relevant information as soon as we hear back from the company.

Vivo Mobile Rede

Vivo, the largest telecommunications company in Brazil, offers a mPOS device called Vivo Mobile Rede. Transaction fees start at 3.99% for credit cards, and it is possible to sell in up three instalments with a charge of 6.99%. The merchant will get access to funds after 30 days.


Akatus was established in 2012 with funding from Chase Equity as a gateway provider, but recently it has stepped into the field of mobile payments, transforming iOS and Android devices into mPOS systems. The player offers three types of accounts, which differ in charges and fund deposit timeframes. For the first, Akatus charges 5.99% + R$0.59 (credit card transaction) and 2.89% + R$0.59 for debit card transactions, and merchants get access to funds within 30 days.

For the second type of account, you have access to funds within 14 days, but the charges are higher: 7,49% + R$0.59 for credit card, and 3.29% + R$0.59 for debit card transactions. As for the third type of account, you get your funds within 2 days, but Akatus charges 9.69% + R$0.59 for credit card, and 4.39% + R$0.59 for debit card transactions.

Other mobile payment options available

Credit card readers are just a part of the growing mobile payments market. Alongside the aforementioned players, we find PayPal behind Zong, an M-Pesa-like service called Zuum. Although NFC transactions take a lower percentage of the mobile payment market, they are present through Oi Paggo, which previously focused on SMS-based mobile payments.

Mobile network operator Claro also plans to launch an NFC mobile payments service in partnership with Bradesco, one of Brazil’s largest banks.