See how PIX-like payment systems work in 56 countries


At least 56 countries around the world currently have an instant transfer system – such as PIX, a new payment method developed by the Central Bank (BC), which will be expanded on the 16th.

The data is contained in the study Flavors of Fast, recently published by FIS, a global provider of technology solutions for traders, banks and capital market companies. The full report can be purchased here.

The survey points to an increase compared to 2019 and shows that the pandemic of the new coronavirus accelerated the shift to digital. Last year, 50 countries had an instant payment system.

Instant payments are considered to be transfer systems where money falls in real time. It is also necessary that the transaction can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

Since 2002, Brazil has had an instant payment system: the Fund Transfer System (Sitraf), which allows banks to exchange electronic payment messages among themselves.

However, Sitraf is limited to financial institutions. The PIX will be operated strictly from November 3rd and, on the 16th, extended to the entire population. To date, more than 50 million keys have been registered.

Good examples

According to the FIS report, India leads the ranking of the countries with the highest numbers of instant transactions. Since 2019, the Asian country has carried out about 41.4 million real-time transactions per day.

The country is considered an example to be followed, since it managed to include thousands of Indians without a bank account in the systems. “India is a continental country,” says Matera business consultant Fabiano Amaro.

Today, the population has two real-time payment systems. The first one, launched in 2010, is IMPS, which works similarly to TED in Brazil, requiring a series of personal data. In 2016, UPI was launched.

The UPI – Unified Payments Interface – takes advantage, according to FIS, of India’s “high ownership of smartphones to feed multiple bank accounts in a single mobile application for any participating bank”.


“The application combines banking resources, funds routing and merchant payments in an always-on mobile location”, describes the report, pointing out that, in mid-2018, version 2.0 of the system was launched.

Another example approved by experts is that of the United Kingdom. Created in 2008, Faster Payments has a large membership, with an average of 7 million daily transactions, totaling GBP 5.4 billion (about R $ 39.5 billion).

“I would say that the Central Bank of Brazil learned well by looking at these models,” says Fabiano Amaro. See, below, the list of all countries that have an instant payment system, such as the PIX:

The cases of China and the USA

To understand the particularities of PIX, Matera’s business consultant cites the Chinese Internet Banking Payment System (IBPS). The country has the second highest number of instant transactions per day (38.3 million).

The Chinese digital payment landscape is dominated by Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba group’s AliPay. According to the Flavors of Fast study, the two combined portfolios hold about 90% of the market.

“China has a real time [pagamentos em tempo real] seen in many places as a great reference, but the country did not have the challenge of interoperability, as it happens in Brazil ”, explains Amaro.

“So, in China, as there are not many players, it is a duopoly. It is as if everything were a transfer between two accounts ”, adds the specialist, when comparing with Brazil, which has several credit card brands.

In the United States, the ecosystem of financial and payment institutions is much larger compared to Brazil, which increases competitiveness, but makes it difficult to develop a single system in the country.

“The United States has, since 2017, a real-time payment system, RTP, but it is not as efficient – and it has costs. There, there are more than 10,000 banks, so the challenge is greater and they end up using private arrangements ”, he says.

However, the Federal Reserve (FED), the American Central Bank, announced the launch of FedNow, which will work similarly to the PIX. The service is expected to start being used between 2023 and 2024.

According to the FED’s description, “companies and individuals will be able to send and receive instant payments in a convenient way and recipients will have full access to the funds in seconds, giving them greater flexibility”.


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