Instant payments: What FedNow could learn from Brazil’s Pix

The Pix system, a joint government-industry project, features mandatory participation by major banking players. That's among suggestions for accelerating growth in FedNow's usage.

Brazil’s instant payment system Pix has become a global success story in real-time scheme implementation. Launched in late 2020, it reached:

  • 42 billion Pix transactions in 2023 vs. 17.8 billion for credit cards and 16.3 billion for debit cards, according to the Brazilian Federation of Banks. That 42 billion represents a 72% increase over 2022.
  • BRL 17.2 trillion (US$3.4 trillion) in transactions made on Pix in 2023 — versus BRL 3.4 trillion (US$677 billion) with cards. (“BRL” stands for Brazil’s currency, the real.)
  • 36% of Pix transactions in December 2023 were made by consumers paying merchants and billers instantly — an increase of 12 percentage points from the previous year.

FedNow, launched in July 2023, has more than 607 financial institutions and service providers that are participating with it, after starting with just 35 in mid-2023. Even with such a powerful start, FedNow might not have the same reach as Pix …

But could FedNow learn some lessons from Pix?


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