The popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp’s newest offering WhatsApp Pay, which is a UPI-based payments app, is all set to officially roll out in India very soon. The two bankers who are familiar with the development, have confirmed that it will be made available for downloading by the end of this month itself.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp will, undoubtedly, leave no stone unturned to rope in as many users as possible within a short span of time and claim the numero uno position. Now, one important question that needs to ask here is whether WhatsApp Pay will be able to take the entire UPI aka United Payments Interface payments’ market by storm and succeed against the obvious competitors such as PhonePe and Google Pay that are currently dominating the market.
In 2019, according to a report by the fintech firm Razorpay, Google Pay led the UPI market in India and accounted for 59% of total UPI transactions processed by Razorpay platform. It was followed by The Walmart-owned PhonePe that happened to have facilitated 26% in digital transactions. The leading Fintech unicorn Paytm accounted for just 7% while BHIM contributed only 6% to the total UPI transaction volumes.
The above findings are derived from the transaction patterns on RazorPay only though, but credible enough to understand the overall UPI transaction pattern. It clearly shows that both Google Pay and PhonePe are currently the biggest heavyweights in this space. However, that being said, they can certainly be toppled by the instant messaging platform WhatsApp’s offering entering into this space.
WhatsApp Pay: The Leverage
WhatsApp has already amassed a humongous user base of 400 million in India. Undoubtedly, the massive users base will be geared up to have WhatsApp Pay installed on their devices as soon as it is released. Thinking conservatively, even 10% adoption will result in over 40 million WhatsApp Pay users in no time.
To put things in context, Google Pay took 2 years to reach 67 million monthly active users in India after launching it as Tez in September 2017. PhonePe too has a way smaller user base of only 55 million monthly active users in the country despite launching it more than four years ago in December 2015.
Besides, WhatsApp can leverage the recent deal that was made between Facebook and Jio to aggressively push its payments offering on the entire subscriber base of Jio which currently stands at 388 million.
It should be noted that WhatsApp is looking forward to offering credit to its users in India as well. This can very well act as the cherry on the top of the cake for Indian consumers as no other UPI-based payments giant currently offers lending services to its users.
A major possibility could be WhatsApp integrating the payments feature along with its primary instant messaging platform. The billions of chat sessions daily on WhatsApp would also help the company to understand users’ preferences and needs give WhatsApp an edge over its competitors. This will further allow WhatsApp to offer a seamlessly smooth and integrated solution to consumers who will then be able to use the WhatsApp Pay feature whilst they are having a conversation about transferring money with a particular person on the main messaging app itself. This is something that Google Pay and PhonePe wouldn’t be able to offer even in the near future as they are standalone payments’ platforms only.
According to bankers who are in the know, three private-sector lenders, namely ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank have partnered with WhatsApp Pay while State Bank of India will join in later in the second phase.
Considering the massive popularity and reach of WhatsApp the company has decided to roll out WhatsApp Pay in phases. WhatsApp has a huge user base and banks cannot possibly be prepared for a sudden jump in transaction volume which is very much expected once the platform goes live.
The unprecedented adoption of Unified Payments Interface in India has been attracting the eyeballs of many other players in various other countries as well. The massive success of UPI in India can be well understood from the fact that it achieved the milestone of processing 1 billion transactions within just three years of the launch.
As of March 2020, approximately 1.25 billion transactions worth Rs 2.06 Lakh Cr were processed through UPI. Now, it is being expected that the launch of WhatsApp Pay will further boost its scalability to newer heights. We will keep you posted on all future developments. Stay tuned.