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WhatsApp Payments based on UPI will be limited to person-to-person, no merchants for now

WhatsApp's Payment feature based on UPI, which is Unified Payments Interface, will be peer-to-peer based and restricted to regular users. WhatsApp Payments will not work for merchant accounts.

Written by Shruti Dhapola | New Delhi |
Updated: February 21, 2018 3:29:21 pm
WhatsApp, WhatsApp UPI, WhatsApp UPI payments, WhatsApp payments, WhatsApp payments feature, WhatsApp Business, WhatsApp feature WhatsApp Payment feature is being tested in the beta version of the app on the Google Play Store. (Source: AP)

WhatsApp’s Payment feature based on UPI, which is Unified Payments Interface, is already live for some users in the beta version of the app on Google Play Store as it has been reported earlier this week. However, WhatsApp’s payments feature will be person-to-person based, which means regular users will be able to make payments to each other. However, merchants or those registered as Business users on WhatsApp will be unable to receive payments for now, has learnt. The company has officially declined to comment on when the feature will go live for all users.

WhatsApp Payments was recently spotted in both iOS and Android beta versions of the app and two publications: GizmoTimes and FoneArena had shared screenshots of the same. However, the feature was only limited to a few users and not all Android beta testers were able to see it. According to the leaked images which have been shared, WhatsApp’s Payments feature will appear as another attachment options to the current ones which include documents, photos, videos, etc.

The WhatsApp UPI-based payments will be peer-to-peer based. The app will also support a majority of the banks on the UPI platform.  WhatsApp rolling out payments in India based on UPI has been long awaited. The company was reportedly testing the feature all of last year. UPI as a platform allows for direct transfers from the bank account itself. A user requires a bank account linked with their mobile number, a UPI pin and authorisation PIN to carry out transactions.

The Facebook-owned app’s payments feature could be an important one for the Indian market. Rival Google already has a UPI-based payments app in the market called Google Tez, which according to CEO Sundar Pichiai managed to get 7.5 million users in just five weeks of its launch. Tez was rolled out by Google last year in September.

WhatsApp though has over 200 million users in India alone, and is the leading messaging app in the country. A payments feature on this could change how people interact with the app and add another important use case. Meanwhile India’s leading mobile wallet player Paytm rolled out a chat feature last year, which many believed was in anticipation of WhatsApp’s upcoming payment feature.

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