WhatsApp Pay has finally gone live in India. The company on Friday announced that the feature will be available in India starting today. WhatsApp in its blog has mentioned that it wants to make money transferring as easy as sending messages on the app. India currently has many payment apps including Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay among others.
Announcing the new feature, WhatsApp said in a blog, “Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp. This secure payment experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message. People can safely send money to a family member or share the cost of goods from a distance without having to exchange cash in person or going to a local bank.
WhatsApp, which counts India as its biggest market with more than 400 million users, had been running a peer-to-peer payments service with limited users for over two years, awaiting regulatory approvals. “Payments is available now in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a video statement.
In 2018, the Facebook-owned company had started testing its UPI-based payments service in India, which allows users to utilize the messaging platform to send and receive money. The testing was limited to about a million users as it waited for regulatory approvals to come in.
On Thursday, NPCI – which runs the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) used for real-time payments between peers or at merchants” end while making purchases – allowed WhatsApp to start its payments service in the country in a “graded” manner, starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million in UPI.
“Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp. This secure payment experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message. People can safely send money to a family member or share the cost of goods from a distance without having to exchange cash in person or going to a local bank,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.
WhatsApp has designed its payments feature in partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) using the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), an India-first, real-time payment system that enables transactions with over 160 supported banks.
WhatsApp said it had partnered with five Indian banks, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank, for the service.
“We’re excited to join India’s campaign to increase the ease and use of digital payments, which is helping expand financial inclusion in India,” WhatsApp said in the blog.
UPI processed over 2.07 billion transactions in October, up from over 1.8 billion the previous month, according to NPCI.