Global Business Intelligence

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Unlocking Payment Opportunities in Emerging Markets

Customers have three basic needs: convenience, familiarity and security. Whether you are the merchant selling your product or service, or the consumer buying it, having a digital payment solution that’s safe, trusted and easy to use is key. 

At AstroPay that’s what we specialise in. Since we started more than 12 years ago, we have developed many such solutions for merchants and users across the emerging markets, and now we are looking to do the same in developed countries such as the U.K., Portugal and Spain. 

We were formed in Brazil in 2009 to solve a problem where a large part of the population didn’t have access to bank accounts, or credit or debit cards. Realising a niche in the market, we developed and launched a digital pre-paid voucher which customers could use to pay with, and have since expanded our offering to the whole of Latin America, Asia and Africa. 

Since then we have developed the product into a digital wallet, allowing merchants to integrate it into their payment systems via OneTouch  to enable the user to pay and make transactions easily and safely across the world. 

And most recently, we have launched an investment solution that enables users to trade Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. 

To give you some idea of our scale, we partner with more than 200 international and local payment processors worldwide, including American Express, Barclays, GooglePay, Mastercard, Revolut, Santander and Visa. We also operate in 166 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. 

So what lessons did we learn from providing payment solutions for ecommerce and igaming customers in notoriously difficult emerging markets? First, we had to understand the characteristics of the local market. 

Understanding the local market and being adaptive to change 

That meant getting to know the local needs, culture and customs, as well as their pain points. It also required in-depth research work to find out consumers’ preferences and the most popular methods and providers. 

In order to be a market leader we had to stay ahead of the curve. Therefore, we had to be quick to pivot as consumers’ behaviours and requirements changed. 

For example, in Brazil we started with Boleto Bancario as the main payment provider, but recently we have added another provider called PIX, which is now more universally used. Since we started enabling payments via PIX, 82% of the payments in Brazil processed in our platform in the last month have been done through PIX.  

Also, most recently, we have launched Payment Links for SMEs in Brazil, to fulfill consumer demand for fast and easy online payments without setting up a website. Through Payment Links, we enable businesses to get paid instantly, easily and securely, simply by sharing a link with their customers. 

The key lesson was to provide the user with a product that they both feel comfortable with and can trust when using it to buy, deposit or receive money. The solution also needed to be localised by using technology and dedicated teams on the ground to get closer to the customer, and partnering with renowned local payment providers to leverage their experience and expertise. 

We also had to be agile and quick to adapt to changing markets to continue to provide the best solution. In order to achieve this, we carried out regular customer surveys, interviews and further investigations, and received feedback through focus groups to better understand consumer behaviour. 


Technology is an enabler, but we need to be empathetic to users 

Technology and innovation are the biggest enablers of speed to market. By closely watching the latest trends and developments, we have realised gaps in the market that we can exploit, such as the move towards cashless and mobile payments, and the use of QR codes. 

Above all, we have consistently provided a fast and seamless customer journey, and experience that avoids any friction, being empathetic to the user’s needs. The solution was tailored to that person’s specific requirements, whether that’s a merchant selling cross-border or a consumer needing to make payment for overseas services in the local currency. 

Having a strong brand and marketing campaign has also propelled us to the front of people’s minds. Users across the world over now recognise AstroPay as a market leader in global payment solutions and the work we have done in this area has only reinforced our status. 

All of these lessons learnt are applicable to more advanced markets such as Europe, where the users are extremely receptive to new technology and solutions. Having encountered and overcome many of these problems in the challenging emerging markets, it makes us much better placed to deliver for the more developed markets. 


Business model shift for global expansion 

The Covid-19 pandemic has merely accelerated the provision of digital payment services as we have changed to a remote model, hiring experts from across the world. This has enabled us to provide more value to our existing users and to expand into new countries such as Kenya and Nigeria. Last year, we also launched in the U.K., Portugal and Spain, and we plan to keep going until we have reached all corners of the globe. 

By partnering with AstroPay, because we have one API that covers the entire world and a network of trusted local payment providers, merchants can more easily and securely reach a wider global audience. Supporting this, thanks to our extensive knowledge and expertise, and database of millions of users accumulated over the past decade, we are also best positioned to help them hit their target market. 

This enables merchants to continue to collect money from customers worldwide and users to make international online payments, using an easy, trusted and safe solution. That’s the AstroPay way.  


To learn more about AstroPay’s payment solutions, visit