By Luciana Aguiar, Plano CDE
While cash is still the most used means of payment by the Brazilian population of any social class, according to The Financial Inclusion Report published by the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) in November 2011, the issuance of electronic payments has increased, especially among the lower income segments.
The possession of credit card increased in all classes since 2005 and more markedly in the lower classes: 66% in classes D and E, 43% in class C, 13% in classes A and B. But even with this increase the use of this instrument is still low, reaching only 13% in classes C and 8% in classes D and E.
Although there was a small reduction in the use of money, it is clear that the preference for use is related to social class, because the lower the class, the higher the percentage of people who have this form of payment as their main option. Oddly enough, money brings a paradoxical effect: while it gives the feeling of greater control because it is more didactic to quantify and provides more negotiation power to the holder, it also favors the impulsive purchases.
For the Brazilian popular classes, saving is a desire, but not a practice. Since 2007, we can verify a change in the behavior of CDE classes by the increase of 3% in the usage of savings account in the D and E segments. The increase in deposits at savings accounts represents an important change in the behavior of a public that has a limited income: taking the money out of sight is an important strategy for saving money. Another explanation for this increase lies in the preference of having a savings account to a current account for the low taxes.
However, this increase in the use of savings account is not reflected in classes A and B where it remained stable. Even in the class C there was a reduction of 2%. This confirms the consuming behavior of class C that is motivated by providing comfort to their families and by increasing access to goods and services at a time of social mobility. For this social class, compromising their family income by taking monthly payments is a kind of investment or saving. This practice reinforces the argument that more than a desire, saving is a habit that needs to be acquired and exercised regardless of social class. Yet, the lack of discipline has more social impact in the lower income segments of Brazilian population.