WhatsApp launches payment service in India



WhatsApp today announced it is starting its own payment services across India.

“Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp. This secure payment experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message. People can safely send money to a family member or share the cost of goods from a distance without having to exchange cash in person or going to a local bank,” reports our New Delhi correspondent quoting WhatsApp as saying in a blog post.

It added that the payment feature has been designed in partnership with NPCI using UPI, an India-first, real-time payment system that enables transactions with over 160 supported banks.

WhatsApp, which has over 400 million users in India, will compete with players like Paytm, Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe and Amazon Pay in the Indian market.

“Payments (service) on WhatsApp is now available for people on the latest version of the iPhone and Android app… We’re excited to join India’s campaign to increase the ease and use of digital payments, which is helping expand financial inclusion in India,” WhatsApp said in the post adding that users will need to have a bank account and debit card in India to send money through the platform in India.

In 2018, the Facebook-owned company had started testing its UPI-based payments service in India, which allows users to utilise the messaging platform to send and receive money. The testing was limited to about a million users as it waited for regulatory approvals to come in.

On Thursday, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which runs the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) used for real-time payments between peers or at merchants’ end while making purchases, allowed WhatsApp to start its payments service in the country in a “graded” manner, starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million in UPI.

WhatsApp had launched ‘WhatsApp Pay’ in Brazil in June this year making it the first country where the service was rolled out.

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