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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - In the first half of the year, card purchases amounted to R$850 (US$212) billion, with growth of eighteen percent in relation to the first six months of 2018.

Credit cards totaled R$534.4 billion (up 18.8 percent), debit cards R$308 billion (up sixteen percent), and prepaid cards R$7.4 billion (up 70.4 percent). The data, released August 28th, are from the Brazilian Association of Credit Card and Service Companies (Abecs).

In the second quarter alone, the sector's growth was 19 percent -- the highest growth in seven years (since . . .

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