The Brazilian debit market is estimated to be worth BRL493bn ($243bn) and likely to increase by two-fold in size by 2016, presenting loads of business opportunity for financial firms in the country.

In a study ‘Debit Card in Brazil’, conducted by MasterCard Advisors, debit cards have become the fastest-growing payment method with a growth rate of 25% annually during the past five years from 2006 to 2011.

The report further underlines that cardless transactions, such as payments using cash, cheques and bank transfers, have grown by 9%.

MasterCard Brazil and Geo South head Gilberto Caldart said, "The rise in debit card usage has been driven not just by economic growth, but also by increasing access to banking services and a greater understanding about this type of payment method."

The study points out that between 2005 and 2012 consumers’ preference for debit card over cash increased from 26% to 34%, while preference for cash decreased from 60% to 48% during the same period.

Additionally, 67% consumers preferred to choose debit card due to security and 37% for its convenience, while 31% chose it for expenses control.

Pointing out at the debit market growth in the country, the report said that only 18% of all card transactions in Brazil involve merchants’ POS, whereas 82% of transactions were still cash withdrawals.

MasterCard is a global payments and technology firm, which connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 geographies and territories.