Success story

Making sending money as simple as sending a message

The pandemic drove an increase in digital interactions as circumstances required friends and family to connect from a distance. WhatsApp, one of Brazil’s most popular messaging apps, saw the opportunity to integrate safe and simple real-time payments with its encrypted messaging service — powered by Mastercard Send™.

A woman looks at a smartphone

Much like the rest of the world, digital platform use in Brazil is on the rise. Here, like many other places, WhatsApp is the go-to for messaging interactions — 98% of smartphone users in Brazil have WhatsApp installed on their phones, making it’s nearly impossible to find someone who isn’t on ‘zapzap’.

This rise in digital platform use was accelerated by the recent pandemic as people found themselves distanced from each other. This distancing created another need for Brazilians: increasingly, people wanted to send money remotely to family, friends and small merchants.


Julia wants to send money to Sofia. But it isn’t easy.

Picture Julia, who is self-isolating at home. Her friend Sofia has generously offered to buy and drop off her groceries but paying Sofia back is a hassle. She can’t get to the bank for cash, she never uses cheques and bank transfers are clunky and frustrating — she has to log in to her banking app, enter Sofia’s sensitive bank account information, run through a list security and authentication checks, then contact Sofia to ask whether her payment has been received. It’s hardly what she expects of a modern digital experience.

"Facilitating the sending and receiving of money safely could not be more important at this time, as it helps loved ones stay connected, broadens access to financial services and enables more people to participate in the digital economy.”
Catherine Porter, vice president for global partnerships at Meta Financial Technologies

Three quarters (75%) of young Brazilians make payments through their mobile phone regularly and 53% would like to make payments using a messaging or social media app. Meta (WhatsApp’s parent company) saw the opportunity to redefine how Brazilians send money to each other using the app’s messaging capabilities as a way of sending and receiving money seamlessly, securely and in real time.


Simplicity was essential. Security was critical.

A major differentiator separating WhatsApp from SMS and other digital platforms is that messages on WhatsApp are encrypted with end-to-end security — with 100 billion messages being transmitted globally per day, security would be key when selecting a partner to make seamless payments within the app a possibility.

Brazil is one of the largest Mastercard-branded issuer markets in the world. Here, the brand is known for trust, strength and advanced technology solutions — exactly what Meta was seeking. Mastercard brought forward two solutions: Mastercard Send, to power real-time payments to the recipient’s debit card, and a secure tokenization service called MDES, which ensures their sensitive payment information is never exposed.

WhatsApp and Mastercard’s capabilities combined to bring even more convenience — making it possible to address a payment using the recipient’s phone number. Senders authenticate the transaction simply and securely using a WhatsApp passcode, or biometrics, such as a fingerprint.

An interdisciplinary team including Meta, acquirers, banks, and the Brazilian Central Bank collaborated to bring payments on WhatsApp to market in May 2021. Now, Julia, Sofia and millions of other people in Brazil can send and receive money quickly and securely — as easy as sending a message.


The success of Mastercard Send within WhatsApp was immediate — and immense

Just six weeks into its launch, Mastercard recorded 1 million approved transactions using the service with no signs of slowing down.

Payments within WhatsApp are increasingly becoming the go-to for Brazilians looking to send and receive money between friends and family. An added benefit is the potential impact it could have on the the 11.5 million small and microbusinesses in Brazil, many of whom are already interacting with their customers on WhatsApp.

1 million
approved transactions within the first 6 weeks

“This partnership with Meta illustrates our ability to offer new and innovative ways to send and receive money in Brazil, with the needs of our customers at the core of our business strategy,” says João Pedro Paro Neto, president for Brazil and the Southern Cone at Mastercard.

A growing number of Mastercard issuing banks are participating in the service, including Nubank, Itau, Santander, Sicredi, Banco Inter, Banco Original, Sicoob and BTG Pactual. “Nubank’s mission has always been to fight the complexity people face in their relationship with money,” says David Vélez, co-founder and CEO of NuBank. “Now, our clients will be able to make payments on WhatsApp as easily as they chat with friends, without extra fees.”

Together, Meta, Mastercard and these innovative financial players are setting the global standard for safe, simple payment experiences around the world.