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Whatsapp in talks with SBI, NPCI to integrate payment services


Not long ago, when Brian Acton was in India, he announced that WhatsApp has commercial plans in the country. The company has now started working on its plans.

The messaging application is in talks with State Bank of India, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and a few other financial institutions to allow its users to make payments via United Payments Interface (UPI), according to the ET report.

“We are currently at the ‘proof of concept’ stage, looking at ways to integrate it with our back-end,” said an SBI official on condition of anonymity.

With UPI facilitating instant fund transfer between two bank accounts, all banks need to do is to integrate their systems with WhatsApp, which can identify the correct recipient.

The report stated that there is a lot of correlation between the functioning of the messenger app and UPI. WhatsApp identifies an address box where the messages travel to instantly. Similarly, UPI instantly settles funds between one account holder and the other.

In the integration of the two, WhatsApp will identify the recipient and the UPI layer will allow funds to get settled between two parties.

Currently, the messaging app has around 200 million people on its platform, who use the app to connect with their friends, families, and communities.

Earlier, the company has also expressed its intention of rolling out commercial messaging for businesses as it looks to tap into enterprises for monetising its platform.

However, this is not a new development in the segment where a messaging app has introduced payment system on its platform.

A few days ago, Hike messenger launched its wallet in the country. The wallet is integrated within the messenger app and has several features, including a linkage to UPI, even if the recipient does not use the Hike app. Users can also use this wallet to recharge prepaid phones and pay post-paid bills from within the app.

In March, before Hike wallet launch, Truecaller had introduced the similar wallet service in partnership with ICICI Bank.

Under the service, any user of Truecaller app, including non-ICICI Bank customers, can link their account of any bank (participating in UPI) to create a UPI id and instantly make payments in a safe and secure manner.

With the launch of UPI-integrated-apps and wallets, the competition in the mobile payment system is getting fiercer. Now, it will be interesting to observe how so many players manage to create niche for their own in a market mushroomed by innumerable players.

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