WhatsApp is gearing to launch its in-app, UPI-based payment service in India in December, according to Factor Daily. The report quotes a person with knowledge of the plan who told the sore that WhatsApp will unveil an extended beta program in November followed by a full roll out in December. The Facebook-owned company is currently testing the feature.
To recall, WhatsApp payments service features was spotted in Android beta in August, suggesting an imminent launch. According to WhatsApp blog, WhatsApp beta version 2.17.295 has the UPI integration feature. Notably, the feature seems t be “hidden and under development,” so even those on WhatsApp beta version might not be able to see the feature just yet.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp is said to have partnered with State Bank of Indian ICICI Bank, and HDFC Bank to facilitate its payment service. UPI essentially allows for instant transfer of funds between two people or a bank account via smartphone. Integration of UPI-based payment services into WhatsApp means that over 250 million of its Indian users will be able to send and receive money within the app itself.
Apparently, there will be a ‘rupee’ icon in the app, clicking on which will let people send or request money to a contact. The ‘rupee’ symbol is said to appear in chat window along side ‘share location’ icon, etc. The report further says that contacts who receive request notification for money can choose to either accept or reject it.
It is important to note that the payment interface might work differently once it is rolled out officially given WhatsApp hasn’t announced it yet. Whether the service will be called WhatsApp Pay or something else remains to be seen. Previously, a report in The Ken had suggested that WhatsApp is already in talks with the government to roll out support for UPI (Unique Payment Interface) within the app.