Earlier this year in February, WhatsApp enabled its UPI-based payments service for some users on its platform. The service allows WhatsApp users to send and receive money from other users. While the service was only enabled for a few users, reports state that Facebook-owned WhatsApp is all set to officially roll out the payment feature to all users next week. The move could help WhatsApp win some market share from rivals Google Tez and Paytm.
According to LiveMint, WhatsApp will partner with ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank to process the transfers, with State Bank of India also expected to join later when it has the required system in place. Facebook had initially decided to fully rollout WhatsApp Payments with four partners, but looking at how the rivals are racing ahead, it reportedly decided to go ahead with three.
Watch: WhatsApp features in 2017
WhatsApp expanding beyond messaging and entering into India’s payments space has been linked to WeChat, which completely reshaped payments in China. In India, WhatsApp Payments started with 1 million users in February, and it has been receiving rave reviews since then.
“WhatsApp has a great starting point: a monopoly in chat,” said Vivek Belgavi, leader for financial technology at PwC India. “High engagement makes it a credible competition,” he added.
One of the things going in WhatsApp’s favor is the massive userbase of over 200 million that the messaging platform boasts. According to the estimates of Forrester Inc., the userbase is equivalent to 60 percent of the US population, whereas the daily active users are bout 20 times higher than on Paytm.