Brazil prepares for launch of instant payments

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Taking a page out the cryptocurrency playbook, Brazil's central bank says it is launching an instant payment scheme throughout the country that will allow the use of Brazil's currency, the real, to have the same security and speed characteristics of crypto platforms.

The Banco Central do Brasil, the central bank of Brazil, will launch the Brazilian Instant Payments Scheme, or PIX, in November as the single brand for instant payment functionality.

In an indication of how quickly the central bank wanted an instant payments scheme in place for the use of real, it was only last summer that Central Bank of Brazil president Roberto Campos Neto first made public the intention to create a new payment rail in the country.

It will become mandatory for all financial institutions and payment providers licensed through the BCB, with more than 500,000 active customer accounts, to participate in PIX. Those accounts include checking, savings and prepaid accounts.

The system will operate through BCB's Instant Payment Scheme, the centralized and sole settlement infrastructure and its proxy identifier database, the bank said in a press release.

The financial institutions must provide customers with all of the education and needed functions for initiating and receiving instant payments through what will be a QR code-based platform that will operate at all hours every day of the year.

The bank cites faster and more convenient pay methods through the use of the QR codes, but notes the system can also operate through the entry of cellphone, email or taxpayer identification in making a transaction.

At a launch announcement event, Campos Neto reportedly said PIX was developed as a response to new digital payment systems including cryptocurrencies.

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