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Brazil's Central Bank authorizes tests with WhatsApp Pay

The information was confirmed by Mastercard and Visa to the Reuters news agency

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  • Mastercard said it is awaiting an official definition from the monetary authority on the official release of the service to the final consumers;
  • Visa also confirmed the information to Reuters, but gave no further details.

Brazil’s Central Bank authorized financial institutions to test payments using WhatsApp, according to Reuters, which confirmed the information with the Mastercard and Visa card labels last Friday.

“The functionality will be released only for a limited group of cards that will carry out low-value transactions,” Mastercard said in a note, responding to Reuters.

The company also said it is awaiting an official definition from the monetary authority on the official release of the service to the final consumers. Visa also confirmed the information to Reuters, but gave no further details.

READ ALSO: “Brazil’s Central Bank did not extrapolate role when suspending WhatsApp Pay,” says a director from the institution

WhatsApp Pay was launched on June 15 in Brazil, the first market to test the novelty. The service, however, was suspended days later by the Central Bank and the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (Cade).

The feature would use Facebook Pay, the payments service WhatsApp owner Facebook launched last year, and which provides a way to make payments across the company’s apps. At the time of launch, the service partners in Brazil were Banco do Brasil, Nubank, Sicredi, and Cielo, a card payment processor.

Transactions would be made using Mastercard and Visa debit or credit cards issued by partner financial institutions, and payments will be processed by Cielo at no cost for consumers or individuals making money transfers – merchants would have to pay a fee of 3.99% per transaction, considered high by the market, since today, a debit transaction costs an average of 0.90%, and a credit transaction 1.7%, in the country.

READ ALSO: Brazil’s Central Bank anticipates registration for PIX instant payments

The Central Bank said, at the time, that it needed to assess possible risks from the new service’s operations, and also ensure that it met basic requirements of the institution’s innovation agenda, called BC +, such as interoperability with other payment arrangements.

A new service restricted to a few partners at this point would make no sense under the regulation of PIX, the country’s instant payment system, available to all financial and payment institutions.

READ ALSO: Large-scale instant payments adoption in Brazil may lead acquirers to lose up to BRL 13 billion a year

On July 1st, Cade released the negotiation between Cielo and WhatsApp. The agency also stressed that there could be no restrictions on competing accreditors to provide Facebook with the same services provided by Cielo.