Forget messages, images and videos, now you can WhatsApp your money too. WhatsApp on Friday enabled an option to make payments through the app using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for select users. The payment option has been enabled with ICICI Bank as the banking partner.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp joins Truecaller and Google in the league of multinational corporations that have entered the fast-growing UPI ecosystem to corner a share of India’s digital payments market, which saw transactions worth Rs 56,600 crore in 2017 calendar year. Of the present flock, Google, through its Tez application, has been the most aggressive, garnering users by offering cash-backs and other freebies.
According to a recent report by Credit Suisse, in the four months since the launch of Tez in September, Google is already processing the same number of digital transactions as Axis Bank — the fourth-largest digital player among banks.
Google’s entry has been instrumental in pushing up UPI transactions eightfold. WhatsApp’s entry is expected to heat things up further. “WhatsApp, with 230 million daily average users, is by far the most popular app in India and as it soon plans to integrate a payments button, digital payments are set to explode and we estimate a US$1 trillion market over the next five years,” Credit Suisse wrote in its report.
In August 2017, then National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) chief executive AP Hota had told FE that e-commerce giant Amazon’s Indian subsidiary is also testing UPI. Amazon India is yet to go live with UPI. UPI is a bank account-to-bank account payment feature that allows money to be transferred using no more than just a phone number. In January 2018, the volume of UPI transactions stood at 151.83 million, up 4.3 per cent from December 2017. (FE)