WhatsApp’s UPI-based payment service has been around for almost two years in India but as a beta feature. However, looks like the service will finally see a commercial launch this month. There have been numerous rumours in the past about the launch of WhatsApp Pay. But this time the launch could finally take place thanks to the Jio and Facebook partnership. Facebook is yet to reveal official details about the commercial launch of WhatsApp Pay.
Recently, Facebook bought 9.9 per cent stake in Reliance Jio for Rs 43,574 crore, which makes it the largest FDI in the technology sector in India. The partnership between Jio and Facebook resulted in JioMart, an e-commerce platform developed by Reliance Industries. For JioMart, Reliance has partnered with WhatsApp to take orders from customers. With the launch of WhatsApp Pay, the shopping experience will become seamless. Jio may also include the option for Jio Pay, its own payment application, alongside other payments option. JioMart is currently in the testing stage and available only in select areas.
When will WhatsApp Pay launch
According to a report by moneycontrol, the Facebook-owned messaging platform will launch the payment service in partnership with three private banks in India by May-end. Initially, WhatsApp Pay will reportedly be available for ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, and HDFC Bank and the country’s largest public-sector bank — the State Bank of India (SBI) — will be added at a later stage. At the moment, these four banks are part of the integration process for the beta testing mode of WhatsApp Pay.
The delay in the official launch of WhatsApp Pay is attributed to the multiple legal and regulatory hurdles faced by Facebook along with privacy concerns. As per the report, the issue of the data localisation guidelines released by the Reserve Bank of India in April 2018 was also one of the problems. The launch could possibly happen now due to the
WhatsApp started the beta testing of its UPI-based payment service in February 2018 in India. At first, the service was made accessible to select users but was made available to others gradually.
The option is accessible by tapping on the three vertical dots on the top right corner and selecting WhatsApp “Payments”. It allows users to add a payment method that could be used to make transactions by entering UPI ID or mobile number of other registered WhatsApp Pay users. The service also allows making payments by scanning the UPI QR code at shops.
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WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users worldwide, out of which 400 million users are in India alone. With these many subscribers, the WhatsApp Pay service is expected to become successful and compete with the likes of other UPI based platforms such as Google Pay, PhonePe, and Paytm.