Real-Time Payments Forecasted to Help Generate 2.08% of GDP by 2026 

Brazil is a real-time payments success story; of all countries covered in the Cebr economic impact study, by 2026 the country has the largest forecasted GDP facilitated by real-time payments in percentage terms (2.08%). 

In 2021, the country recorded 8.7 billion real-time transactions, mainly due to the popularity of the PIX real-time payments ecosystem. The widespread adoption of real-time payments resulted in estimated cost savings of $5.7 billion for businesses and consumers in 2021, which helped to unlock $5.5 billion of additional economic output. That represents 0.34% of the country’s GDP. 

With real-time payment transaction numbers expected to rise to 82.4 billion in 2026, net savings for consumers and businesses are forecasted to climb to $37.9 billion. That would help to generate an additional $37.6 billion of economic output, equivalent to 2.08% of the country’s forecasted GDP.  

Brazil has two real-time payment infrastructures in operation: SITRAF and PIX. SITRAF was the first to be introduced in 2002 and PIX was introduced in 2020. SITRAF only provides operation during banking hours, which limits the volume of activities the platform can manage. PIX is a real-time payments system that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Since its launch in 2020, it has already surpassed SITRAF adoption among participants, as it is available to the customers of 761 financial institutions whereas SITRAF only has 104 participants.  

In 2021, real-time payments represented a 5.3% share of total payments volume: much smaller than electronic payments (excluding real-time payments) and paper-based transactions, which were 29.4% and 65.2%, respectively. But its market share is expected to grow significantly by 2026, reaching 34.3% share of payments volume and surpassing electronic payments (excluding real-time payments), which will decrease to 26.3%, and challenging paper-based transactions, which will be at 39.4%. In terms of payments spend, real-time payments represented a 13.4% share of total payments spend while electronic payments (excluding real-time payments) stood at 83.6% and paper-based transactions were at only at 3%.  

We are expecting real-time payments to carve itself a bigger share of payments value by 2026, as it is projected to reach 42.8%. PIX, which makes it easy for consumers to use real-time payments at merchants and for daily expenditures, is the main driver of this shift. Its full integration into the financial system and the strength of its backing from the government has given it a strong start, and it is projected to significantly impact the Brazilian economy as a result.

Key Stats

Real-Time Payment Types

Single Instance

Future Dated

Initiation/Authorization Methods

Bank Account



QR Code

Year of Real-Time
Payments Launch


Sistema de Transferência de Fundos (SITRAF)





Message Standard


Sistema de Transferência de Fundos (SITRAF)

ISO 20022


ACI’s Take

Since its launch in November 2020, the PIX real-time payments transfer system has taken off far faster than anyone expected: by July 2021, it had 100 million users, and by October 2021, it was processing 1 billion transactions per month.

Incoming new features — such as PIX Withdraw and Change, which enables customers to withdraw cash at any participating retailer; new open banking standards and additional account identifiers — will further accelerate growth and increase the average transaction value. Request to Pay, using QR codes, is also on the way. And the Central Bank of Brazil plans to add credit payments, which will help to drive growth in C2B payments on the platform, and PIX International for cross-border real-time payments.

Current growth already threatens to overwhelm legacy architectures, so the pressure is growing on payment players to ensure that they can reliably cope with still-rising volumes without increasing their costs. This, combined with the central bank’s frequent updates, has increased interest in managed payment services, which can instantly scale with demand and greatly simplify ongoing compliance.

With the stunning success of PIX, traditional payment channels are also under pressure to create new products and services to stay relevant. A major target for PIX is to reduce cash-based transactions, but it is also reducing card usage at a high rate. As a result, issuers and acquirers urgently need to develop PIXbased services to replace dwindling transaction fees. This won’t be news to them, but the speed with which PIX has taken off has taken them by surprise. Now they must get to work with their technology partners to accelerate time to market on new offerings.

There is a darker side to PIX’s huge success, however: robbers have taken to forcing people at gunpoint to instantly transfer money to mule accounts. In response, the central bank introduced customermanaged payment limits for which requested changes are actioned after a 24-hour waiting period. But that simply led to people being kidnapped and held until their funds could be transferred.

Measures such as this can only ever be temporary. Not only have they not worked, but the customer experience is also being harmed. Instead, the market as a whole needs to make better use of machine learning for payments risk management to quickly and automatically identify and respond to risky transactions at scale.


Mobile Wallet Trends


% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have
used it in the past year (2021)

Real-Time Acceptance





Real-Time Total Participants


Sistema de Transferência de Fundos (SITRAF)



Population Banking Level


Number of debit, credit and
charge cards per adult


Index to global average

  • Fully Banked
  • Progressing
  • Underbanked

Real-Time Transactions







Payments Fraud Rate


Population who reported being a
victim of fraud in the last 4 years

Top 3 Payment Fraud Types

% of fraud victims Trend

Card details stolen online


Card details stolen/skimmed in person


Confidence trick

Share of Volumes by Payments Instrument


  • Paper-based payments
  • Electronic payments
  • Real-time payments


Spend (USD)



Real-Time Payments Volume and Its Share in Overall Non-Paper-Based Transactions, 2015-26f

% of total electronic payments transaction volume

Trends + Data

Cloud Management Platform


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)


Hybrid Cloud


Managed Cloud Service

  • Current priority
  • Planned

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Private Cloud

Software as a Service (SaaS)


Brazil counts as an upper-middle-income country and ranked as the 11th largest global economy — and the largest South American economy in 2021 (Cebr World Economic League Table, 2022).

Real-time payments generated consumer- and business-level benefits of $5.7 billion in 2021, meaning Brazil ranked third in that league table. The largest contribution to this total was from the reduction in payment float costs. Based on current adoption rates in Brazil, real-time payments unlocked a total transaction value of $8.4 billion per day in 2021 through a reduced float time. This working capital facilitated an estimated $3.2 billion of business output in the same year.

At the macroeconomic level, the realized benefits in 2021 in terms of GDP facilitated by real-time payments were estimated at $5.5 billion, equivalent to 0.34% of formal GDP or the output of 287,209 jobs.

However, the economic impact is expected to rise dramatically by 2026 as real-time transaction volume in Brazil is expected to rise to 34.3% from 5.2% in 2021. This expansion is expected to result in a significant spurt in realized benefits, with net savings for consumers and businesses to rise to $37.9 billion. Macroeconomic efficiency gains are expected to total $37.6 billion in 2026. This is equivalent to 2.08% of formal GDP or the output of 1.9 million workers, and in absolute terms is an impact more than seven times larger than 2021.

For Businesses and Consumers



Net savings stimulated by real-time payments



Projected net savings stimulated by real-time payments

GDP Growth



of economic output



of GDP facilitated by real-time payments



Projected of economic output



of GDP facilitated by real-time payments


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