WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging platforms across the globe with over 1.5 billion monthly active users. In India alone, the messaging platform has over 200 million active users, and most of them use it as a primary source of communication – to send photos, videos, texts and more. To make the most, WhatsApp also added voice and video calls feature to the platform, and now after demonetization when digital payments have surged, the company wants its share of pie in that too.
Messaging and payments
Some may argue as to why the messaging platform needs to integrate digital payments, and it should rather focus on communication. However, I believe, adding UPI-based digital payments solution is a masterstroke. When you have 200 billion users, why not use it to its full potential?
From what I’ve seen, right from school and college going students, to elderly people, a lot of them are on WhatsApp, and adding digital payments to send and receive money within the conversation just makes things better.
Earlier, when you owed money to someone, you would either give cash or a cheque or require recipient’s name, bank name and account number, IFSC code among other details to transfer money using IMPS or NEFT. Now, with mobile wallets and UPI, you just need the phone number or the VPA (Virtual Payment Address), to quickly transfer money.
Today, you have apps like BHIM and Google Tez, mobile wallets like Paytm, MobiKwik and FreeCharge, along with individual bank apps that let you send and receive money. And WhatsApp will be competing with these services. We take a look at how WhatsApp Payments competes with Google Tez and Paytm.
Just like BHIM and other UPI apps, users need a bank account with their Aadhaar and phone number linked to it. If these requirements are met, users simply need to go through the setup process, which lets you choose the bank account, verify the phone number using OTP and you’re done. At any given point, if users have multiple bank accounts, they can link those to WhatsApp and also switch between them, when required.
The best part here is that, if you’re on WhatsApp and linked your bank account, sending and receiving money is simplified. You don’t even need the VPA, just the phone number is enough. You can simply send money within the conversation, just like you send photos and videos to the recipient. And the money will be directly credited in the recipient’s bank account. Yes, it is that simple. And with WhatsApp having 200 million users, it just simplifies things.
Launched in September 2017, Google’s payment platform already has around 10 million users. It is a lightweight app that is built to make payments simpler. Built on top of UPI (Unified Payments Interface), the app lets you send and receive money via different ways. It is similar to BHIM, but have a couple of interesting tricks up its sleeve.
To begin with, both the sender and receiver needs to have Google Tez installed, and the bank account configured. Requirements are the same, your bank account should be linked with Aadhaar and phone number to be able to fetch details. Using the app, you can send money using account number and IFSC, you can send using UPI ID or scan QR code, or you can send it to a linked phone number.
There is also a cash mode that you can use to send and receive money. The sender needs to tap on ‘Cash Mode’ followed by ‘Pay’ and the device, whereas the receiver needs to tap on ‘Cash Mode’ followed by ‘Receive.’ The sender’s phone will emit sound, and the receiver’s phone will then transmit information. Then, the sender just needs to enter the amount, enter the PIN code and money will be transferred.
There’s no need to share the phone number, or UPI ID or QR code. It is that simple. But, of course, it is one additional app that you need to download, whereas WhatsApp will take care of everything, right from messaging to money transfer.
The latest update to Google Tez app also adds utility bill payment option, and takes advantage of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). There is a long list of billers that you can choose from. You can recharge your Tata Sky and Dish TV connections, you can pay your electricity and gas bills, you can pay your mobile, landline and broadband bills, and you can also pay your life insurance and mediclaim premiums. Sadly, Google Tez does not support prepaid mobile recharge yet.
Among the e-wallet apps out there, Paytm is one of the most popular one. It is a mobile wallet that lets you send and receive money with other users on the platform. It also includes utility bill payments, which lets you pay for recharges, mobile bills, electricity and landline bills, recharge your DTH, cable TV and data card, and even recharge your Metro card.
Paytm is also an e-commerce platform where you can buy clothes, apparels, book flight, train and bus tickets, buy cinema tickets, gift cards, home and consumer electronics products among others. Paytm also recently added UPI -based payments solution that lets you send and receive money using VPA, bank account or Aadhaar number. And if that’s not enough, Paytm also offers Payments Bank solution that works as a regular savings bank account. You can send and receive money online, you can request a cheque book, you get a virtual and physical debit card that you can use to withdraw money or use for shopping at the outlets out there.
Clearly, as you can see, each platform has its own set of advantages. The only thing common is the UPI integration. Even if you skip Google Tez, WhatsApp has an advantage of letting you transfer money within the conversation, whereas Paytm is an e-wallet, that lets you make bill payments, and a regular bank account too, that lets you use the debit card and cheque book. All have their own set of importance and using the one clearly depends on what your needs are.
|Platform||Android, iOS||Android, iOS (limited browser features)||Android, iOS|
|Download Size||Android – 20MB
iOS – 158MB
|Android – 28MB
iOS – 192MB
|Android – 8.1MB
iOS – 58MB
|Started||January 2009||August 2010||September 2017|
|Parent Company||One97 Communications, Alibaba|
|Users||200 million (India – active users)||250 million (registered users)||13 million (active users)|
|Utility Bill Payments||No||Yes||Yes|
|QR Code support||Yes||Yes||Yes|