In less than 30 days, Brazilian citizens in banking will have at their disposal a new tool for carrying out instant bank transactions, Pix. Banks and financial institutions with more than 500 thousand customers are running out of time to adapt their technologies to what is recommended by the Central Bank of Brazil for the safe operation of Pix. In parallel, thousands of Brazilians are already trying to register their respective passwords for accessing the new system. Some were successful, others not so, which generated a flood of complaints.
According to clarifications from the Central Bank of Brazil, an institution that developed Pix inspired by models adopted in at least six countries around the world, the tool will be a cheaper alternative, as it is free for individuals; fast, with transactions confirmed within 10 seconds and secure. This security, however, does not depend only on the tool, but on its usability by those who have the smartphone in the palm of their hand. In the following interview, the specialist in Financial Technology and president of Imobanco, Fernando Colares, analyzes the functionality of Pix and points out the adoption of caution so that the user does not fall into scams.
Didactically, how can you explain the PIX and its functionality?
Pix is an instant payment system, created, maintained and hosted by the Central Bank of Brazil, which aims to enable individuals or companies to promote transfers of funds, thus being able to pay or receive amounts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. , with transactional time of up to 10 seconds. For the use of Pix both people will have to have their key registered which will be equivalent to the “path” of their bank or fintech, agency and account. With access to its key or equivalent QR Code, the paying person will be able to read the recipient’s QR Code, using the application of the company he uses, inform the amount to be transferred and order the transfer by pressing the equivalent button on his smartphone mobile phone.
Who can have Pix and for what reasons is it important to have it?
Individuals or companies can promote their registrations to have access to this technology, being important to have it, due to the immediate availability of money at any time. This continuous availability is the main attraction of the present system, being therefore more relevant for those who have a habit or need to pay in cash (without using third party credit). Imagine that a reader of ours, at that moment, may need to pay the gardener, buy mineral water in a beach hut, fill up his fuel vehicle and even make a donation (why not?). In China there are already cases of beggars who announce on the plaque where they ask for contributions (what we call here alms) with the QR Code where they can receive the amount to be donated. Pix transactions have no limit, be it in value or time.
Do other countries use similar tools? Did they make the financial environment more competitive? Because?
The Central Bank of Brazil researched instant payment systems in several countries, including Singapore, China, Finland, the United States, among others. Countries that had the possibility to offer their citizens ways to promote instant payments with more open platforms, registered a great growth in the offer of new technologies and, consequently, cheaper final prices to users. In other words, competition is positive for the citizen.
Does Pix prove to be a safe tool for financial transactions, as the Central Bank defends? How to minimize risks while it is used?
Security is the keyword for any bank or fintech to thrive and the same goes for the Pix system! In a more technical language, all financial transactions in this system, as well as the registration and alteration of keys, are carried out by digitally signed messages by the issuing institution, sent over an encrypted channel through TLS with mutual authentication. For this, digital certificates ICP-Brasil in the SPB standard are used. Translating this definition of the Central Bank’s technical staff, to a reader more ignorant of what it is and how technology is made, Pix is safe. However, the tip of the transaction, which is not covered by the security of the Central Bank of Brazil, is the user. This, deceived by fraudsters can end up sending money to someone who does not know who he is or who should even do it. Therefore, it is necessary to be careful when using the Pix system. In the case of Pix, we have several security mechanisms, such as prior registration of websites, digital certificates and digital signature, in addition, of course, the various validations to be made by the applications that will provide this transactional facility. Even so, a user may be deceived and taken to access a fake website containing a QR Code for payment via Pix, needing to be permanently attentive to the confirmation screen of the information about the recipient and, when noticing any inconsistency, not making the payment. The rule is simple: be careful and always remain attentive when promoting your transactions.
How can fintechs and payment institutions develop from November 16th, when Pix becomes “universal” in the country? Are these companies prepared for an increase in demand?
We believe that Pix will be used by the same users who today carry out purchase transactions with an account debit or even users of our services who transfer amounts to settle operations, debts or commitments. In our current plan, there is no concrete view that the number of account debit transactions will grow due to the facility. There are those who pay in cash and there will always be those who will need credit to promote their payments. Despite the comment, we hope that the number of people “banking” will increase and, thus, boost the growth of financial businesses and the use of our services.
From your point of view, what is the profile of the Pix user? Will older people find it difficult to use it, for what reasons?
I believe that the first users will be people aged between 18 and 59 years, active and living in large urban centers. The issue of use by the elderly will not be related to the difficulty, since payment by Pix is practical, but rather, due to the distrust and security to carry out the transaction. The elderly generally lack a more personalized and closer service, in order to remove their doubts and eliminate their reasons for insecurity. There are already fintechs that are specializing in the creation of technology for the elderly, with colors, sizes and intuitiveness for this audience. Much remains to be done.
Did the Central Bank get right to launch Pix in 2020, even in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic? What will this entry change in financial transactions in the country? Should new banks contribute here?
In our opinion, the Central Bank of Brazil is to be congratulated! The year 2020, with all this public health problem and lack of access to financial services and services, was an ideal year for the emergence of a technology with this applicability. The market today does not need new banks, since with the emergence of ESC – Simple Credit Companies, SEP – Loan between People, Crowndfunding (or collective financing in Portuguese), Securitizers and Fidc – Credit Rights Investment Fund – all already regulated by the CVM – Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission – it is open for credit operations. This credit structure, combined with the technologies of fintech credit / debit cards, digital wallets and e-commerce platforms, will have full capacity to irrigate the Brazilian economy, in an amount sufficient to transform Brazil into a model country.