WhatsApp to launch its first digital payments service for Indian users

April 07, 2017

Facebook owned messaging app, WhatsApp is preparing to enter India’s digital payments industry. It can soon introduce a payments function in India, a first for a global messaging service. Facebook decided to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014.

 Facebook has added payment function to its Messenger app in US. In India, messenger is far less popular so they decided to add this feature in WhatsApp instead of messenger.  WhatsApp has over 200 million users in India and they have decided to use this advantage by entering into digital payment industry. The entering of WhatsApp into this industry would lead up a clash with Paytm, the payments start-up backed by China’s Alibaba.

"India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we are understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India. We're exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users," a WhatsApp spokesperson had said.

The world’s most popular messaging app is also targeting India to debut a new commercial messaging version of its app called "WhatsApp for Business".  “The platform will be for very small businesses, employing less than 10 people and it could help with managing customer contact lists or multi-agent support” the company’s co-founder Brian Acton said. Acton had met the government's IT minister Ravi Shankar regarding digital payments in India.

Digital transactions in India have increased to a much higher rate after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sudden ban of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes in November. After the ban there has been a massive growth in digital transaction volumes in India, including credit/debit cards, mobile banking/m-wallets and UPI.

The Indian government has always strongly supported digital payments so as to move the people away from cash and make transactions and income tax collection more clear. More than a third of Indians now access the internet and India has more WhatsApp users than any other country so they couldn’t have asked for a better time to roll this out.

April 07, 2017

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