In just under a year, businesswoman Natasha Gaspar has already acquired a computer, bottles of wine, clothes, shoes, grocery items, bus tickets, travel packages and much more, all from companies that offer the cashback reward system. (from the English “money back”). Assiduous user of platforms that offer this benefit, she says that she has already managed to get back more than R$ 2 thousand for these purchases.
Like Natasha, thousands of Brazilians have been adhering to this shopping model that offers an immediate percentage return in cash. For specialists, the growth of this type of business in the country is gaining the space that was previously the credit card points programs or mileage services.
“Whenever I make an online purchase, I see if the cashback is advantageous. I use several platforms and my credit card program”, says the businesswoman. “Sometimes I don’t even need anything, but I go to the site to have a ‘look at it’ and I end up buying something”.
For Myrian Lund, financial educator at Planor (Brazilian Association of Financial Planning), despite being attractive, the use of cashback needs to be done with awareness and planning. She warns that it is common for consumers who, “bewitched” by the idea of immediate returns, end up spending more than they should – or even paying more for a particular product because of the benefit.
The expert says the presence of cashback was boosted by the growth of e-commerce during the pandemic and by a service that looks to the less wealthy and consumers with lower purchasing power. “Before, many customers ended up not even using the accumulated miles, because they didn’t have enough to travel with them. With cashback, even the smallest purchases bring a sense of reward.”
For Carlos Netto, founder and CEO of financial solutions and products company Matera, cashback works as a solution for brands to reduce the cost of acquiring new customers. “For companies, cashback is a sales stimulus mechanism. When you pay, the result of the companies’ marketing investment is materialized. So it is sustainable. But there is also cashback that is done by burning capital, it depends on the company”.
Anyone who wants to venture into the world of cashback needs to pay attention to some important information. When making the purchase, it is necessary to take into account the rules of each company that offers the service, including the percentage of return, the period for compensation of the amount receivable and the period of validity of the credits.
According to experts heard by the newspaper “O Estado de S. Paulo”, consumers should follow some rules of financial education so as not to turn what would be a benefit into a trap, avoiding impulse purchases and researching companies that offer the best benefit.
The use of cashback in national e-commerce generated revenues of R$ 10 billion in 2021, almost double that recorded in 2020, according to a survey by Cuponomia. “The pandemic made e-commerce grow and pulled cashback along. Those who use it tell their friends, which generates exponential growth”, says Ivan Zeredo, the company’s marketing director.
Fintechs vs ‘banks’
Born in the digital world, the benefit advances to physical stores with credit cards. At Nubank, cashback is offered to those who opt for the Ultraviolet model, with 1% of the invoice converted into cash back (which now yields 200% of the CDI rate). “We offer total flexibility for the customer to use this cashback in the way they see fit”, says Rusen Baragiola, leader of Nubank’s cards area.
Social media coordinator Gustavo Gusmão estimates that he will accumulate R$ 663 in a year. “I chose the card because of the income and the balance never expires, unlike airline miles”.
The benefit, previously linked to fintechs, is already appearing in “banks”. Santander started offering cashback to its customers last year. At Itaú, the service is found on some cards. “In banks, the focus was on middle and high income. With digital banks, traditional banks had to move so as not to lose customers”, says Myrian Lund, financial educator at Planor.
A pioneer in the country, Méliuz has been operating in the sector for more than ten years. At first, the company had to explain that the customer would not pay more for the benefit. “The cost for the advertiser is reduced compared to ads on social networks because it only exists if there is a sale, and the consumer receives a part of the purchase”, says Malu Tolentino, business development manager in e-commerce. The company now has a credit card that gives cashback on physical and virtual retail purchases, with a return that varies depending on the store.
The RecargaPay digital wallet app sells a subscription plan that gives cashback with every payment. For the subscriber, in an estimate of credit card expenses, being R$ 150 in cell phone recharge, R$ 100 in transport tickets and the purchase of gas cylinders at R$ 112, the cashback can reach almost R$ 30 of the total spent. In addition, paying bills over BRL 20 with the digital wallet generates up to BRL 0.60 in return per bank slip.
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