WhatsApp, began testing its payment service in India with 1 million users in early 2018, finally starting to expand the feature to more users in the world’s second largest internet market.
Facebook social network The proprietary service said Friday that it is rolling out payments in ten regional Indian languages in the latest stable version of the WhatsApp app on Android and iOS. The announcement comes hours after the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the regulator of the popular UPI payments infrastructure, said it had approved WhatsApp to roll out UPI-based payments. in this country.
Like Google, Samsung, and several other companies, WhatsApp built its payments service on UPI, a payment infrastructure built by a coalition of major banks in India. NPCI says WhatsApp, with more than 400 million users in India, can expand payments to its users in a “categorical way”; and to begin with, it can only deploy a payment service for 20 million. users and has to work with multiple banking partners. (WhatsApp says today it is working with the top five banks in India: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India and Bank Jio Payments.)
Google and Walmart currently dominate the mobile payments market in India, together with about 80% of the UPI market share. UPI has emerged as the most popular digital payment method in India, thanks in part to New Delhi’s sudden move to cancel more than 85% of paper money in circulation nationwide by the end of 2016. UPI’s popularity has reduced the relevance of several companies in India, including SoftBank and Alibaba-backed Paytm that have spent years building mobile wallets. Unlike UPI applications, mobile wallets cannot interact with other mobile wallets and charge a small fee to the consumer.
“With UPI, India has created something truly special and is opening up a world of opportunity for the micro and small businesses that are the backbone of the Indian economy. India was the first country to do anything like this. I am delighted that we are able to support this effort and work together to help achieve a more digital India. I want to thank all of our partners who made this possible. When people have access to financial instruments, they are more empowered to support themselves and others or start a business. In the long run, we need more innovation to allow people to control their money and make payments easier is a small step that can really help, ”said Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook. know in a video posted on Friday.
WhatsApp’s implementation of payments in India in early 2018 quickly fell into a two-and-a-half-year regulatory maze as various agencies in the country expressed concerns about users’ payment data and whether Facebook-owned services use too much power and advantages or not other payment applications. You can read more about this here (fee wall is included).
While WhatsApp has been relieved of those concerns, industry veterans believe that payment service on this app – more popular than any other smartphone app in the country – will be quickly adopted. far more so than its competitors since all of its potential users are already using it to chat with you guys. (For example, Google launched a standalone payments app in India.)
Today’s NPCI announcement came minutes after they said they would enforce a limit on third-party apps to ensure that no application processed more than 30% of all UPI transactions. in a month. It is clear that WhatsApp has suffered too much regulatory trouble in India, the largest market for its users. But NPCI’s plan to enforce the limit on other apps will help WhatsApp in some way eventually – though it will come back to bite later.
According to Credit Suisse, India’s mobile payments market is under threat, estimated at $ 1 trillion by 2023. Today’s announcement will also help WhatsApp, increasingly wanting to diversify into more business areas. More, create a further push into the mobile payments market.
It rolled out payments in Brazil in June of this year, but was quickly ordered by the country’s central bank to suspend service. Brazil’s central bank said it has decided to “maintain a suitable competitive environment” in the mobile payments space and ensure “the operation of a fast, interchangeable payment system. Safe, transparent, open and cheap. ” Fortunately in India, UPI is fast, open, interchangeable, cheap, and to a large extent transparent.
Facebook itself made a huge boost in commerce over the past year or so. And if WhatsApp gains traction with payments, it could open more avenues for its parent company. Facebook Known: Earlier this year, the social company invested $ 5.7 billion in Indian telecoms giant Jio Platforms, the largest foreign direct investment in the tech space in India. Facebook executives said they plan to work with Jio Platforms to explore ways to digitize India’s 60 million SMEs. Jio Platforms is run by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man. Ambani is also a close ally of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
WhatsApp has also added a host of commercial features to its platform in recent years.
The story has been updated throughout with more details.