We might be very close to getting a payments option in WhatsApp. There’s been considerable buzz surrounding the feature that the messaging giant has been working on for months, and now in a month or two, it could roll it out. The final testing phase is on, and WhatsApp Pay would likely see a December launch, FactorDaily reports. India would be the first to get the new feature. And why not? With 200 million-plus daily users, it is WhatsApp’s largest market in the world. Also Read - Indians will now be able to make UPI payment in the United KingdomAlso Read - WhatsApp screenshot blocking feature rolling out to Android users on beta
“They are likely to do some sort of an extended beta program for the feature in November and by December you can expect a full rollout, a source close to the company stated. WhatsApp has reportedly partnered with three of India’s leading banks SBI, ICICI and HDFC. WhatsApp Pay would require a bank’s UPI architecture to function. Uber, for instance, partnered with HDFC Bank and Axis Bank recently to roll out an UPI payment option for customers. ALSO READ: Uber integrates UPI-based payments in partnership with HDFC, Axis Bank Also Read - WhatsApp might soon introduce an 'Undo' option to recover deleted messages
The report also released an artist’s impression of the imminent feature. It reveals that making a payment via WhatsApp would be as simple and quick as sharing a photo or contact on it. An added ‘Rupee’ symbol would crop up when a user clicks on Attachment. And he/she could make a peer-to-peer payment through a one-step process of entering amount and UPI PIN.
What is critical to note is that users wouldn’t need to exit their existing screes in order to make a payment. This not only means convenience, but also improves customer stickiness, increases minutes spent on the app, as well as reduces chances of another payments app being used. Surely other payments apps and mobile wallets have reasons to be worried. Recently a Twitter user rang an alarm on the same.
Just saw a couple of WhatsApp #UPI screens; payments players should start shitting bricks right now. No, seriously.
Raj S (@raj_s) October 28, 2017
WhatsApp is possibly trying to emulate China’s WeChat, which has made a success out of an integrated messaging-and-payments play. WeChat has over 930 million users in China, and soon after it rolled out WeChat Pay, it went on to capture 40 percent of the payments market. That is second only to market leader Ali Pay, operated by e-commerce giant Alibaba. For WhatsApp, which has over a billion users across the globe, India is just the start. If it makes a success out of the new feature in its biggest and possibly most complicated territory, it wouldn’t be long before a Facebook-owned service dominates the payments space too.