WHATSAPP on Friday said it is rolling out its payments services in India after receiving nod from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). In 2018, the Facebook-owned company had started testing its UPI-based payments service in India, which allows users to utilise the messaging platform to send and receive money. The testing was limited to about a million users as it waited for regulatory approvals to come in.
On Thursday, NPCI - which runs the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) used for real-time payments between peers or at merchants’ end while making purchases - allowed WhatsApp to start its payments service in the country in a “graded” manner, starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million in UPI. “Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp. This secure payments experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message. People can safely send money to a family member or share the cost of goods from a distance without having to exchange cash in person or going to a local bank,” WhatsApp said in a blogpost.
It added that the payments feature has been designed in partnership with NPCI using UPI, an India-first, real-time payment system that enables transactions with over 160 supported banks. In June this year, WhatsApp had launched ‘WhatsApp Pay’ in Brazil - making it the first country where the service was widely rolled out.
In India, WhatsApp - which counts India as its biggest market with over 400 million users - will compete with players like Paytm, Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe and Amazon Pay. “Payments (service) on WhatsApp is now available for people on the latest version of the iPhone and Android app... We’re excited to join India’s campaign to increase the ease and use of digital payments, which is helping expand financial inclusion in India,” it said adding that users will need to have a bank account and debit card in India to send money through the platform in India. WhatsApp said it is working with five banks in India - ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank - and people can send money on WhatsApp to anyone using a UPI supported app.
No fee will be charged: Mark
NO FEE will be charged when sending money via WhatsApp, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday (local time) following the nod by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for WhatsApp to go live on UPI in the multi-bank model.
Speaking through a video statement, Zuckerberg said that it will be supported by more than 140 banks. He further said that the payments will be available in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp.