Boleto Bancário: Popular Brazilian Cash Payment

If you are serious with expanding your online business outside your domestic market, you have to think about local differences. Five key pillars of successful business expansion are local

  1. Language
  2. Currency
  3. Payments
  4. Support
  5. Delivery (if you are selling physical products)

In this post we will talk about local payment methods and specifically about 🇧🇷 Brazilian Boleto Bancário. Although the general worldwide usage of Credit/Debit Cards is increasing, you really need to have these to boost your conversions. In fact only 40% people in Brazil have access to international Credit Card.

1. What is Boleto Bancário?

Boleto Bancário is a cash payment which is extremely popular in Brazil. Simply because lot of locals even don’t have Credit/Debit Card and therefore the only way for the to pay for your services/products is cash. And out of those few who have Credit/Debit Card only 60% are using it for online purchases. Since the order is fulfilled after vendor receives the payment from the client, it is considered as offline/delayed payment method.

Boleto Bancário – Actual Receipt from HSBC Bank
Boleto Bancário – Actual Receipt from HSBC Bank

According to Brazilian Wikipedia around 50 million Boletos are paid each month which means around 100 million Boletos are generated each month. First Boleto was launched back in the 1993. The biggest advantages are having access essentially to all customers in Brazil, low fraud and no charge-back rates and increasing the general trust of your online business.

Conversion Uplift By adding Boleto Bancário payment to your store, you can expect a conversion increase around 30% to 50%. However you need to also start monitoring paid vs. unpaid orders (see risks section below).

2. How does it work?

  • Customer selects Boleto as payment method during the checkout process. On the order confirmation page and in the e-mail he will get a URL for his unique Boleto receipt which looks like on the image above. The key on the Boleto is the unique barcode in the bottom and serial number at the top.
  • Customer needs to print it or send it to mobile phone, go to the bank/super market/lottery agency/ATM with the receipt and pay for it in cash. Alternatively online banking can be used to clear Boleto.
  • Vendor is fulfilling the order once he successfully receives the payment from the bank, it typically takes around 3 to 5 days.

See more details in the YouTube video from EBANX below which explains Boleto in 2 minutes.

3. How popular it is?

Over 1 billion Boletos are generated during the year. The biggest advantage is that anyone in Brazil can use Boleto to make a payment. But Boleto’s share is constantly decreasing as more and more people in Brazil are becoming aware of online payments with cards or PayPal. However it is Brazil-only payment – it can’t be used anywhere else in the World.

In our experience the current share among other payment methods in 2017 is around 40% on the orders generated and around 20% on the orders paid.

Selecting Boleto Payment in Mercado Livre Checkout (Biggest Brazilian E-shop)
Selecting Boleto Payment in Mercado Livre Checkout (Biggest Brazilian E-shop)

4. What are the risks/disadvantages?

As first thing you need to realize lot of customers in Brazil are creating orders with Boleto, but never pays for them. On average this is around 50% of customers. Therefore this will totally mess up your web analytics data as you will see a nice uplift in revenue in Google Analytics, but the actual revenue coming from Boletos is only half.

Boleto also adds additional load on your customer service as lot of customers are asking about the order status, why they haven’t received the product when they paid few days ago etc.

 5. How to implement Boleto to my store?

If you are running in-house checkout and payments, you will need to register an entity in Brazil in order to be able to generate Boletos. The simplest way is to use either payment gateway (Adyen, EBANX, Allpago etc.) or fully outsourced solution (Digital River, dLocal).

Once you will integrate through API with the Boleto provider/bank, it should appear as a regular payment method next to Credit Card and PayPal. Just make sure you won’t fulfill the order until you successfully receive the payment.

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