WhatsApp is gearing up to launch its payment services in India, reported Mashable quoting The Ken. WhatsApp’s payment solution is likely to get support for UPI (Unique Payment Interface) as well and the company is already in talks with the government for the same. UPI allows for instant transfer of funds between two people or a bank account via smartphone. “UPI is open to third-party services, making payments is as fast and easy as sending a text message,” read the report.
WhatsApp spokesperson, in a statement to indianexpress.com did not give a clear indication to whether the company is planning to launch payments service in India but said, “India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India. We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users.”
WhatsApp, which has over 200 million active users in India, has the potential of becoming a popular payments app. Mobile wallets such as Paytm and Mobikwik have seen a sharp rise in their user base since December thanks to demonetisation. A large number of users, however, still prefer to deal in cash given there’s a lack of awareness related to online transactions. WhatsApp app, on the other hand, has a much greater reach which might make it a popular online payment option.
WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has already said India is an important country for the company. “India is critically important, it is our leading market. India guides us with respect to what we build and how we build it,” Acton said. Additionally, WhatsApp is exploring business plans that will help it monetise its 1.2 billion user base “in a way that is clean, straightforward, simple and spam-free communication”.