Facebook-owned WhatsApp may launch its UPI-enabled payment service by next month. The instant messenger with worldwide popularity has been trying to enter the payment space for a long time. Earlier it was speculated to go live by December 2017.
According to a report published in ET, the payment platform, which is already in beta stage expected to go live for consumers by the end of February.
For payment integration, WhatsApp has already partnered with banks including State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank.
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.
On WhatsApp payment platform, users can send or request money. Before sending money users to require to identify themselves with the personal number while receivers will be notified just like they receive a contact or location. Importantly, it will have the option to accept or reject the request.
The instant messaging app has the largest user base in India with over 200 million users. It’s not clear how WhatsApp’s payment strategies will pan-out, however, it’s likely to follow WeChat model.
WeChat is extremely successful in integrating in-chat features including payment and other utility features in China. The Tencent-owned messaging app has over 963 million active daily users. WeChat users sent about $1.2 trillion in 2016, up from $11.6 billion in 2012 through WeChatPay.
Beyond text messaging, voice and video calling, WeChat offers a social network timeline, branded accounts, shopping, games and more.
WhatsApp’s foray into space is likely to be a serious concern for digital wallets like Paytm, MobiKwik, and PhonePe.
Additionally, the US-based messaging giant is going to enter a long list of international players like Google (Tez), TrueCaller, Amazon Pay, PayPal, etc. looking to bet on the Indian digital payments space.
Kicking its monetisation plan in India, the instant messaging app had launched WhatsApp for businesses in August, this year. Movie and entertainment ticketing portal BookMyShow, Oyo and Ola are using WhatsApp’s business feature.