It’s been long rumored that WhatsApp is working on adding a payment feature. However, the precise launch day has remained a mystery. Although there’s no official word on the precise launch date, a report online claims that the feature could be rolled out as early as next month.
In the past few months, traces of the WhatsApp Pay feature have been spotted in beta versions of the app. ET quotes ‘people aware of the developments’ who reiterate this, and also say that the feature could be rolled out by the end of next month. “The platform is already in beta stage (testing) with one of its partner banks. We expect the product to go live for consumers by the end of February, depending on how the trials work out,” the publication’s source says.
For its UPI-based payment feature, WhatsApp is said to be partnering with the likes of State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank. WhatsApp, along with these banks, is reportedly conducting the final phase of tests with a select group of users before it goes live.
“To be able to send money as easily as a text message involves ensuring various levels of encryption to keep the data safe. UPI, by itself, also has a complicated settlement mechanism between various banking partners. These issues need to be attended to before the product goes live,” ET quotes a senior banker as saying.
It’s been reported before that India will be among the first in the world to get the WhatsApp Pay feature. While it is too early to ascertain, WhatsApp is likely to kick things off with peer-to-peer transactions among users. Reports have claimed that a user will be able to transfer money from within the chat window itself, and all that is required is an UPI PIN.
A WhatsApp Pay feature is a win-win situation for both the Facebook-owned company and the Indian government. With more than 200 million monthly active users here, India’s digital payments initiative will get a massive boost courtesy the app’s user base. WhatsApp, on the other hand, is seemingly trying to emulate WeChat. Since introducing WeChat Pay, the company has gone on to control over 40 percent of the payments market in China.