Facebook has decided to launch the WhatsApp Payments feature as early as next week in India as per a recent report. The feature was in the testing phase for more than 3 months now and the company might now roll out it to all 200 million WhatsApp users in India.
To recall, WhatsApp Payments feature was rolled out earlier this year to just a million users and was available on an invite-only basis for others. Now, as per a report by Bloomberg, the Facebook-owned company looks in haste to roll out the feature in India. The report citing people familiar with the matter says that Facebook is set to offer its WhatsApp payment services to all users in India as early as next week even though its partners aren’t ready.
The company is going to partner with HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank initially to facilitate transactions over the platform. The government led State Bank of India is also expected to join once the proper systems are in place, the report further adds.
The entry of WhatsApp into India’s payments space has been likened to WeChat, which reshaped payments in China and received massive success in the country. WhatsApp payment aims to take the market share of incumbents Google Tez and Alibaba-backed Paytm, which lacks messaging facility.
The UPI based payment services has already got a boost after the Government’s demonetization move back in 2016. There are more than 200 million active WhatsApp users in India which is 20 times higher than that of Alibaba backed Paytm. This will a great benefit for the messenger app when it rolls out the payments feature in India.
WhatsApp Payments feature will work just like any other UPI based payment service provider. Customers will have to use their phone numbers that are linked to their bank accounts to send or receive the money directly into the bank accounts.
Currently, it is not confirmed when the WhatsApp payments feature will exactly be rolled out. As per a Bloomberg report, WhatsApp spokesperson declined to comment on the same, while ICICI Bank couldn’t immediately comment, and emails sent to SBI, HDFC, and Axis Bank were also not answered.