Facebook’s Whatsapp Is Getting Into Digital Payments

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WhatsApp is a popular messaging application, with more than one billion users. And now it is advancing into the world of money as well. The app has been working on a new feature that will allow users to send and receive money from their contacts on the platform.

The Whatsapp payments system will be very secure, as it will use a service provided by our old friend Western Union. This means that Western Union’s security features will cover all of the payments made through the app by its users.

The service will go live in India, where WhatsApp is already working on this product in partnership with two of the country’s three main payment service providers. However, Facebook has revealed that the feature will be available to all users in India soon enough. As for when exactly that might happen, it remains unclear.

For now, Whatsapp users in India can only chat and share content on the platform. But this is going to change soon. 

WhatsApp, which has over 200 million monthly active users in India, will start supporting UPI-based payments from early next year, according to a top company executive. The Facebook-owned firm will launch a pilot programme soon and hopes to roll out the feature, which lets users make online as well as peer-to-peer payments directly from their bank accounts, to all its 200 million Indian users in the first quarter of 2018.

“India is a very critical country for us. We have 200 million users there, it’s one of our top markets,” Chris Daniels, WhatsApp Vice President for Policy and Communications told PTI in an interview here on the sidelines of Digital Democracy event organised by Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)

“We are very careful about what we launch — globally also — but in India, we are extremely cautious… We want to make sure that we understand all local nuances before rolling this out,” he added.

The rollout will be closely monitored, with the Facebook executive stressing that there was no “one size fits all” approach required for various countries around the world. Daniels declined to give details about the pilot programmed but said WhatsApp had conducted significant internal testing and would be very cautious while rolling out the feature.

He said this digital payments experience will be provided not only on WhatsApp but also on all other popular platforms such as Facebook. “We want to roll it (WhatsApp Payments) out properly and make sure we understand the implications of bringing payments onto our platform,” he said.

According to some media reports, there have been discussions within the company on how it could help some of its payment service provider partners grow their user base. India has over 480 million internet users, of which only about 10 per cent are monthly active WhatsApp users.

The messaging app currently has an estimated more than 200 million monthly active users in India and over 1.5 billion users globally.

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