WhatsApp rolls out payments in India

WhatsApp, which began testing its payments service in India with 1 million users in early 2018, has finally started to expand the feature to more users in the world’s second largest internet market.

The Facebook-owned service said Friday that it is rolling out payments in ten Indian regional languages in the latest stable version of WhatsApp app on Android and iOS. The announcement comes hours after National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the body that operates the popular UPI payments infrastructure, said that it had granted approval to WhatsApp to roll out UPI-powered payments in the country.

Like Google, Samsung and a number of other firms, WhatsApp has built its payments service atop UPI, a payments infrastructure built by a coalition of large banks in India. NPCI said WhatsApp, which has amassed over 400 million users in India, can expand payments to its users in a “graded manner,” and to start with, it can only roll out the payments service to 20 million users and has to work with multiple banking partners. (WhatsApp said today it is working with five leading banks in India: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank.)

Google and Walmart currently dominate the mobile payments market in India, together commanding roughly 80% of the UPI market share. UPI has emerged as the most popular digital payments method in India, thanks in part to New Delhi’s abrupt move to invalidate more than 85% of the paper cash circulation in the nation in late 2016. UPI’s popularity has diminished the relevance of several firms in India, including SoftBank and Alibaba-backed Paytm that spent years building mobile wallets. Unlike UPI apps, mobile wallets are not interoperable with other mobile wallets, and levy a small fee to consumers.

“With UPI, India has created something truly special and is opening up a world of opportunities for micro and small businesses that are the backbone of the Indian economy. India is the first country to do anything like this. I’m glad we were able to support this effort and work together to help achieve a more digital India. I want to thank all our partners who’ve made this possible. When people can access financial tools, they’re more empowered to support themselves and others, or start a business. Long term, we need more innovation that gives people control over their money, and making payments easier is a small step that can really help,” said Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, in a video posted Friday.

WhatsApp’s payments rollout in India in early 2018 quickly ran into a two-and-a-half-year regulatory maze as various bodies in the country expressed concerns over users’ payments data and whether the Facebook-owned service wielded too much power and advantages over other payments apps. You can read more about this here (paywalled).



While WhatsApp has been cleared of those concerns, industry veterans believe the payments service on the app — more popular than any other smartphone app in the country — will see a much faster adoption than its rivals as all its potential users are already using it for chatting with friends. (Google launched a standalone payments app in India, for instance.)




NPCI’s announcement today comes minutes after it said it would be enforcing a cap on third-party apps to ensure that no single app processes more than 30% of all UPI transactions in a month. It’s evident that WhatsApp has already suffered too much because of regulatory troubles in India, its biggest market by users. But NPCI’s plan to enforce limit on other apps should help WhatsApp in some way eventually — though return to bite again later.

WhatsApp Messenger is a FREE messaging app available for Android and other smartphones. WhatsApp uses your phone's Internet connection (4G/3G/2G/EDGE or Wi-Fi, as available) to let you message and call friends and family. Switch from SMS to WhatsApp to send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos, documents, and Voice Messages.

WHY USE WHATSAPP:

• NO FEES: WhatsApp uses your phone's Internet connection (4G/3G/2G/EDGE or Wi-Fi, as available) to let you message and call friends and family, so you don't have to pay for every message or call.* There are no subscription fees to use WhatsApp.

• MULTIMEDIA: Send and receive photos, videos, documents, and Voice Messages.

• FREE CALLS: Call your friends and family for free with WhatsApp Calling, even if they're in another country.* WhatsApp calls use your phone's Internet connection rather than your cellular plan's voice minutes. (Note: Data charges may apply. Contact your provider for details. Also, you can't access 911 and other emergency service numbers through WhatsApp).

• GROUP CHAT: Enjoy group chats with your contacts so you can easily stay in touch with your friends or family.

• WHATSAPP WEB: You can also send and receive WhatsApp messages right from your computer's browser.

• NO INTERNATIONAL CHARGES: There's no extra charge to send WhatsApp messages internationally. Chat with your friends around the world and avoid international SMS charges.*

• SAY NO TO USERNAMES AND PINS: Why bother having to remember yet another username or PIN? WhatsApp works with your phone number, just like SMS, and integrates seamlessly with your phone's existing address book.

• ALWAYS LOGGED IN: With WhatsApp, you're always logged in so you don't miss messages. No more confusion about whether you're logged in or logged out.

• QUICKLY CONNECT WITH YOUR CONTACTS: Your address book is used to quickly and easily connect you with your contacts who have WhatsApp so there's no need to add hard-to-remember usernames.

• OFFLINE MESSAGES: Even if you miss your notifications or turn off your phone, WhatsApp will save your recent messages until the next time you use the app.

No comments:

Post a Comment