Facebook has today announced the rollout of WhatsApp payments in India after a successful approval by the National Payments Corporation of India(NPC1). The feature will let users send money to family members and share the cost of goods without the need to exchange cash.
The feature has been in testing in India since 2018, the rollout was delayed due to data storage and sharing concerns. However, not all users will access the service. NCPI has mandated the expansion of WhatsApp’s UPI user base in a graded manner with a maximum of 20 million users. Facebook promises to make the service available to everyone over time.
The tech giant boasts over 400 million users in India, boosting as WhatsApp’s biggest market.
WhatsApp’s payment system will use India’s national payments infrastructure the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) which will allow the interoperability between different apps. UPI allows over 2 billion transactions monthly and its supported by 160 banks and several other money payment systems.
To send money on WhatsApp, you will need a bank account and debit card which then WhatsApp sends instructions to banks to initiate the transfer via UPI between you and your bank to complete the transaction. The WhatsApp payments service will be absolutely free.
Facebook is currently working with 5 local banks, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, and Jio payments Bank. The payment service will be available in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp.
Commenting on the development, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg says, “Now you are going to be able to easily send money to your friends and family as easily as sending a message. He adds the digital payments are important especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as they completely eliminate the need for in-person exchange of cash”
WhatsApp also bought a $5.7 billion stake, about 9.99 per cent stake in Mr. Ambani’s digital services unit, Jio Platforms Ltd in April to expand in the world’s biggest open technology market.