Whatsapp to roll out Payment Feature This year in INDIA
WhatsApp will roll out its payment service in India this year following a year-long pilot, its global chief Will Cathcart has said, as the Facebook-owned messaging giant taps an upsurge in digital payments in its dominant market.
The messaging app, which has about 400 million users in India, has been testing its Whatsapp payment feature in the country since last year with about a million users.
Payments services are critical to bringing millions of more people into India’s fast-growing digital economy,”Will Cathcart, WhatsApp’s global head, said in New Delhi on Thursday.
Cathcart was speaking at an event held to announce a tie-up with India’s top government think tank NITIAayog to promote women’s entrepreneurship. “We can’t wait to provide this service to our users across India this year,” he said.
WhatsApp will use India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) standard used by many other digital payments services, which is growing rapidly — UPI processed over 750 million transactions last month, rising from about 246 million a year earlier.
Cathcart said the company’s vision is to make sending money as easy as sending a message on the platform. “We believe that if we get this right, it will accelerate financial inclusion and bring value for people in India’s fast-growing digital economy, We can’t wait to provide the service more of our users all across India later this year,” he said at an event.
WhatsApp’s payments feature would compete with a crowded market in India that includes Alphabet Inc’s Google Pay, Softbank- and Alibaba-backed Paytm and Walmart’s PhonePe, all of which are used, especially in cities, to pay for everything from groceries to Uber rides. It is yet to be rolled out nationally in India.
The Facebook-owned company, which has over 1.5 billion users globally, is looking rolling out its payments service in other markets as well.
Digital payments, lending and e-wallet services have been growing rapidly in India, led by a government push to bring more of the country’s cash-loving merchants and consumers into the formal economy.