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How Carrefour Brasil Confronted Coronavirus Challenges

Friday, October 02, 2020

Launching a Prepaid Virtual Card in Record Time

Like the rest of the world, Brazil has been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. To combat the financial hardships, the country launched a social program to provide billions of Brazilian reals monthly in emergency “coronavoucher" financial aid — distributed digitally to households in need.

However, for the estimated 45 million people in Brazil without banking relationships, there was no easy way to receive the digital funds. Unbanked individuals could visit a post office or lottery seller to manually load their monthly benefits onto their smartphone, which could lead to significant delays in receiving the funds.

Carrefour Brasil — the country's leading supercenter retail chain — and their financial services arm, Banco Carrefour, recognized there was a tremendous opportunity. To better serve their customers without banking relationships, they turned to TSYS, a Global Payments company, for help in building a prepaid, virtual card program for their unbanked customers.

'We've been on a journey with Banco Carrefour over the past ten years - building a relationship based on trust. This meant they are comfortable with us taking the initiative on this opportunity, which paid dividends in being able to quickly respond.' - Ross Stewart, TSYS VP and GM - LAC

Digital in days

When Brazil launched its coronavirus aid benefits in the spring of 2020, Carrefour was able to quickly build a digital solution for their unbanked customers. Banco Carrefour and TSYS designed a prepaid, virtual closed-loop account for customers to access their monthly government benefits on their smartphones. They could spend the funds as desired at nearly 500 Carrefour and affiliated stores. This innovative virtual card program was ready in record time — just 40 days from start to finish. All this was possible because of Banco Carrefour's forward-looking vision — as well as the creativity and agility TSYS brings in developing new solutions for customers to enhance their customers' experience, improve efficiency and sustain growth. It all adds up to innovation that delivers, bringing advanced technology and an adaptive approach to business challenges while offering customers the reliability and security they expect.

'Nowadays, time to market and adaptability are key characteristics to keep success in business. Banco Carrefour and TSYS demonstrated both on this initiative, supporting our customers in this critical moment. I am sure that this type of initiative strengthens our partnership and common objective of providing relevant and quality solutions to our customers.' - Andre Tonlini, Customer Director, Carrefour

New customers and rising sales

As the prepaid, dedicated virtual card program rolls out nationwide, Banco Carrefour is projecting significant benefits:

  • Hundreds of thousands of consumers — Large numbers of Carrefour customers will have access to a store account for the first time, developing a financial history with the potential to ultimately qualify for convenient credit accounts.
  • Additional products and services — The financial services arm will be able to offer a variety of credit vehicles and other products and services as the program expands.
  • Attractive sales opportunity — By accommodating customers, Carrefour hopes to generate increased sales as shoppers use their virtual cards in its stores.

This is just the beginning. Because of TSYS, Banco Carrefour was able to launch a much-needed banking alternative that provides a digital lifeline to unbanked Brazilian families. In the process, Banco Carrefour and TSYS have identified an opportunity to deliver a digital payment solution to Carrefour customers for the long term, supporting new sales and revenue channels into the future.

'This solution was only possible to be carried out during this period because we combined other features of the ecosystem, reinforcing our ability to innovate and respond to customers' needs.' - Daniel de Faria, Technology Development Head, Carrefour