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WhatsApp's UPI payment service starts in India WhatsApp Payments

WhatsApp's UPI payment service starts in India

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 06 Nov 2020, 05:25 pm

Mumbai/IBNS: After years of struggle, Facebook Inc has finally managed to get approval for operating WhatsApp payments in India, starting Friday.

"Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp. This secure payments experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message," the messaging app broke the news in a blog post.

It will operate through India's multibank Unified Payments Interface (UPI), said National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in a statement on Thursday. Reports said NPCI had given the approval on Wednesday evening allowing the payment service to "go live".

"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 the blog post.

According to reports, Facebook has been testing WhatsApp Payments in India since 2018.

WhatsApp Payments can start with 20 million users and gradually expand its UPI base, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) said on Thursday, infomed media reports.

"Payments are available now in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a video statement.

WhatsApp said it has partnered with five banks in India: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank.

"WhatsApp designed our 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. 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," the Facebook owned messaging app said in the blog.

How it works

According to WhatsApp's blog post:

  • To send money on WhatsApp in India, it’s necessary to have a bank account and debit card in India.
  • WhatsApp sends instructions to banks, also known as payment service providers, that initiate the transfer of money via UPI between sender and receiver bank accounts.
  • People can send money on WhatsApp to anyone using a UPI supported app.

" WhatsApp and UPI’s unique architecture can help local organizations address some of the key challenges of our time, including increasing rural participation in the digital economy and delivering financial services to those who have never had access before," the blog post read.

Just like every feature in WhatsApp, payments is designed with a strong set of security and privacy principles, including entering a personal UPI PIN for each payment.

Payments on WhatsApp are now available for people on the latest version of the iPhone and Android app.

Whatsapp which considers India as its biggest market has been making consistent efforts to enter its digital payments ecosystem already occupied with operators like homegrown Paytm, Walmart Inc.'s PhonePe, Google Pay, Inc.'s Amazon Pay and dozens of other startups.

However, with over 400 million users in India, it has a unique advantage over all the existing players in a market that is slated to grow to $1 trillion by 2023, said reports.