After a wait of two years, the WhatsApp Pay feature has finally been rolled out in India and without any doubt, it is all set to shake up the payments’ space in the country!
Today, Facebook announced that WhatsApp payment feature will help Indians transferring money as easy as sending a message. This facility will be launched in ten Indian regional languages in the latest stable version of the app both on Android and iOS.
The announcement came within a few hours after National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) revealed that they have finally granted WhatsApp the required approval to roll out this feature in the country.
As already known to many, WhatsApp has built its payments service on top of the UPI or Unified Payments Infrastructure. The NCPI that the instant messaging app could start rolling out the service provided they are working with multiple banking partners and launching the service in a ‘graded manner’. It also said, to begin with, only 20 million WhatsApp users in India will be able to access this feature. However, it’s unclear what is the selection criteria of these select 20 million users, and on what basis the company would decide to make WhatsApp Pay available to more users in future.
WhatsApp, while announcing the initial rollout of the feature today, said that they are currently working with five leading banks – Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank.
The much-awaited service from the Facebook-owned messaging platform was supposed to launch two years ago in 2018. However, the proposal of the same made the company run into an unending regulatory and bureaucratic maze. During these two years, WhatsApp had to clear several concerns of several Indian government bodies related to the privacy, operations and anti-competition.
Finally, now that all the concerns have been put to rest and WhatsApp has received the green signal, industry analysts believe that WhatsApp Pay will observe a much faster adoption rate than its competitors with standalone apps (e.g. PayTM, PhonePe, Google Pay). This is because the messaging app has already amassed a whopping 400 million users in India – the second biggest internet market in the world.
WhatsApp tried to roll out a similar payments feature in Brazil this year in June. However, it was quickly scrapped off by the country’s central bank. Brazil’s banking body, in a statement regarding the same, said that they decided to do so to “preserve an adequate competitive environment” in their country’s mobile payments space.
Luckily for Facebook, in India, the UPI was just the right option for them to build the functionality atop of it. The United Payments Infrastructure is fast, open, interchangeable, and transparent.
WhatsApp Pay: Facebook Has Big Plans
If WhatsApp can gain traction with payments in India, then it will definitely open up more avenues for the social media behemoth. Last year, Facebook committed to making a big push in commerce, and so far, they have lived up to it pretty well.
Earlier this year, the company invested a whopping $5.7 billion in Mukesh Ambani’s Indian telecom giant Jio Platforms along with adding a range of commerce features to its platform. It now remains to be seen how far can they push the envelope with the WhatsApp Pay in India.
How To Use WhatsApp Pay?
Now, when it comes to using the feature, the user needs to first set up UPI with their bank account in WhatsApp Pay. After that, to make payments to contact, go to the chat window and tap on the attachment icon. On iPhone, the same is represented by a “+” icon near the chat window. Enter the amount you wish to send to the contact and then add any comment that you might want to add and the payment will be made.
For receiving payments from a contact, the procedure is pretty much the same. Tap on the attachment icon, fill the amount and then select ‘Request’ instead of making the payment. The recipient will receive a notification about the request of funds soon after, and they can tap on it to immediately make the payment to you.
Let us know if you are excited to try out this new feature and if it can replace your current go-to payments’ app in the comments down below. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.