That WhatsApp is getting into payments was reported a few months ago. Now, a new beta version of the app has surfaced, and it reflects an UPI payment option for peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer. India’s likely to be the first market to get WhatsApp’s payment feature that is being built on the government-backed Unified Payments Interface. WhatsApp version ‘2.17.295’ was spotted by technology blog WABetaInfo on the Google Play Beta Program. Also Read - WhatsApp COVID-19 relief efforts: How you can get resources during the pandemicAlso Read - Good news! Jio users can now check COVID-19 vaccine slots on WhatsApp - here's how
WhatsApp is the second Facebook-owned platform to be attempting in-app payments. Facebook Messenger already allows US users to transfer money to friends and family within the app since 2015. And when it comes to other messaging apps integrating payments, Skype recently tied up with PayPal to allow to P2P money transfer in select markets. In India, homegrown WhatsApp rival Hike rolled out in-app payments (Hike Wallet) in June. ALSO READ: Hike Messenger 5.0 gets UPI-based wallet service, new themes, Magic Selfie and more
WhatsApp, for which India is the largest market, has delayed on delivering its payments system. To facilitate UPI on WhatsApp, Indian banks would have to merge their systems with the messaging app. All major banks have a separate UPI app now. “Due to the complexity of the architecture, WhatsApp is in discussions with the State Bank of India, NPCI and few other banks to devise ways to integrate their systems with the bank and with NPCI,” a senior SBI official was quoted as saying.
WhatsApp has been scouting for a ‘Digital Transactions Lead’ for India. Its website described it as someone “helping users of a forthcoming digital payments service, collaborating with banks and developing global support for the new offering.” However, it has been tight-lipped about the service so far. “India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India. We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision,” a WhatsApp spokesperson had said in a statement.