PIX, the new Brazilian platform for instant payments, will be launched 1 week before Black Friday, but it seems that retailers, especially online, will not be able to take advantage of the novelty in 100% of its potential in this year’s big sales highlight.
As the pandemic is forcing people to stay more at home, it is expected that the event will be even more online than ever in Brazil, with the possibility that some large national e-commerce stores will give up adopting the PIX in November. This is because the feature known as PIX Link had its availability delayed by the Central Bank (BC) due to possible security issues and some iOS incompatibilities. The service, as the name suggests, would be a way to initiate a payment simply by clicking a button on a website or a link shared via messengers.
As most sales on the Brazilian internet are already made through cell phones, the PIX may end up being of no use on this Black Friday, since you can’t scan a QR Code on your smartphone screen using your own device for that.
Truncated experience and security
The experience BC expected for the user was that, by clicking on the PIX link, the smartphone could show all apps compatible with PIX deeplinks, allowing them to choose which bank or digital wallet to make the payment. On Android this is perfectly possible, but not on iOS.
Other than that, there is the fear that pirated apps will capture PIX links and intercept the customer’s payment with a kind of clone of the original bank application that the person has chosen. Of course, this would only be a possibility on mobile phones compromised by malware, from people who fell for some kind of phishing scam or installed APKs from unknown sources.
Still, it was enough for BC to decide to postpone launching payment links and focus on using QR Codes and “keys” or “nicknames” for customers. “Large representatives of Brazilian e-commerce were frustrated with the postponement of PIX Link. For many of them, most of the sales are made through cell phones, not desktops”, said Carlos Netto, CEO of Matera, company that collaborated in the development of the PIX next to BC.
Without PIX Link, the mobile experience is very bad
Netto explained in an exclusive interview with TechWorld that, with this link model, the customer could initiate payment with one click and, within seconds, see the status of the purchase updated on the website or app of the chosen store. With the postponement, the mechanics performed by the user on the cell phone will be similar to payment via bank slip.
“Now, e-commerce will have to generate a QR Code in PDF form, asking the user to share or open that document with the bank’s app,” explained Netto. In this case, the program of the chosen bank would have to be able to read QR codes inside PDFs for the operation to work, generating more steps and possibilities for the customer to give up.
Of course, once completed, the payment would also be processed in seconds; however, people less familiar with technology might give up midway through the procedure due to its lack of simplicity.
Nobody was happy. This even discouraged some big players from launching the PIX out and about in November
What if the PIX goes down?
Another point that may lead large online retailers not to adopt the PIX already on Black Friday, or at least not make as much fanfare about it, is the fear that the system will crash during the sales event. The PIX is something very new and will already have to go through a test and fire in the biggest Black Friday ever held in Brazil.
“There is a risk of the PIX falling, of something else falling, already on the first Black Friday of the pandemic, and this is making people nervous, anxious. It will be the first Black Friday with an e-commerce that has grown a lot in recent months” , notes Netto.
“Black Friday used to be a nightmare. Things were always ‘rolling over’, with a waiting list to enter websites. They solved all that. E-commerce is now much better, but these traumas are still present in the minds of executives, although we, consumers, have already forgotten”, he adds.
PIX Link is not dead
It is important to emphasize that PIX Link is still in BC’s plans, and the national financial authority does not intend to give it up very easily. This truncated experience with PDFs is just a palliative measure, which will be used until the PIX Link hurdles are resolved.
Netto explained that the alternative was chosen together by representatives of BC and retail because it is something familiar to the consumer. After all, we are used to shopping on the internet, downloading a common bank slip and then going to the bank’s app to pay via the PDF.
Link didn’t die, he just got suspended
“What I suggested to some retailers was: take your dev area and put it in the BC consultation about the PIX”, revealed Netto. “They have a huge experience with tens of millions of people downloading their apps and making purchases every day. This experience they have on hand is unique, and they need to enjoy the fact that BC listens to the community, not wait around. the regulator defines our entire future.”