WhatsApp plans to expand its peer-to-peer payments solution to more countries before the end of current year. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, hinted at company’s plans to expand availability of payments on WhatsApp to more countries in a post on the social media platform. The social messaging company got peer-to-peer payments feature allowing users to transfer money to each other was launched first in India in 2018. The feature is being tested with limited users and the company is said to be exploring ways to expand it to more users in India. The feature is built on top of Unified Payments Interface, which allows for instant transfer of money between various bank accounts.
“Messaging is the area that’s growing the most quickly, and this year people are going to feel these apps becoming the center of their social experience in more ways. We’ll roll out payments on WhatsApp in some more countries. Private sharing in groups and stories will become more central to the experience. We’re going to onboard millions of more businesses that people can interact with,” Zuckerberg said in his Facebook post.
WhatsApp is used by over 1.5 billion users around the world and serves as one of the pillar of Facebook’s messaging strategy, which includes apps like Messenger and Instagram as well. The social messaging tapped into Unified Payments Interface to enable money transfer but hit a roadblock due to data localization norms and compliance terms with Reserve Bank of India. The announcement comes after reports emerged that Zuckerberg is contemplating the idea of merging the technical framework powering WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.
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Merging these three platforms will allow WhatsApp user send message to a Messenger user and vice-versa. Zuckerberg has said merging the three entities is not planned for this year and is a 2020 and beyond goal for the company. He has also not said anything specific about the payments interface. It is not clear how the feature will be brought to other countries but WhatsApp stands to gain as more users adopt mobile payments and more countries encourage their citizens to go cashless.