Scott Anderson

A Swipe Toward Inclusion: (With video) PagPop connects merchants and low-income consumers

Once upon a time, cash was king. For most small businesses selling to low-income customers, cash was (and still is) also queen, prince and pretty much the rest of the royal court when it came to transactions.

Mobile payment companies like PagPop in Brazil are working to put cash in its place while connecting with small businesses and customers in new and inclusive ways. PagPop has developed card reader hardware that attaches to Android and IOS-based smartphones, but it also works with feature phones, landlines and through a Web browser. The company is targeting independent small and medium-sized business owners and low-income consumer households, both of which have been excluded from traditional financial services.

Fewer than half of Brazilians have bank accounts, but most have mobile phones – and it would appear that PagPop is capitalizing on that fact. In the span of about two years, it has grown from about 4,000 clients to 110,000 clients, and has aspirations to reach 300,000 clients in the next two years.

Although PagPop charges a fee (about 4 percent) for each transaction, Marcio Campos, PagPop’s CEO and founder, told me most users see increased revenue from their customers as a result of the service. A wide variety of business people use the hardware and software, from cab drivers to grocers to hair salon owners, Campos said.

Founded in 2006, the company graduated from an accelerator program and secured financing rounds from Cisneros Group as well as two venture capital firms in Brazil. With offices in Ribeirao Preto and Rio de Janeiro, PagPop is in the process of raising series B venture financing as well, Campos said.

I had the opportunity to interview Campos during the Business Call to Action Forum 2014 earlier this year. Excerpts from our interview can be found in the video below.

Scott Anderson is the managing editor of NextBillion.