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WhatsApp gets NPCI approval to onboard 100 Mn users on UPI

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has approved an additional sixty (60) million users on UPI for WhatsApp. With this approval, WhatsApp will be able to expand the service to its 100 million users, a significant victory for the payments service that Meta hasn’t yet heavily marketed to users.

In November 2021, WhatsApp was allowed by NPCI to expand its registered user base to 40 million in UPI from 20 million users a year ago. Till then, only 10 million users were allowed to use the digital payments feature.

As per Industry sources, WhatsApp has been trying to get the nod for UPI payments feature for maximum or all users in India. The fresh permission would allow the instant messaging app to cover around 15–20% of its total user base via its UPI-based payments service. As of February 2021, WhatsApp had 530 million users in India.

While WhatsApp has managed to expand its payments feature at regular intervals, the Facebook-owned [now Meta] company failed to grab sizable volume since its entry into the UPI race. As per NPCI statistics, WhatsApp had recorded only 2.54 million transactions via UPI in March this year.

According to analytics firm Sensor Tower’s data, WhatsApp’s global installs stand at 6.27 billion to date with India contributing around 25%, or 1.55 billion.

Overall, UPI had recorded 5.4 billion transactions in which PhonePe has maintained its leadership position in the UPI ecosystem since Dec 2020. During the last month, it had 46.7% market share, as per NPCI data. Google Pay and Paytm were at the second and third spot with 1,838.12 million and 729.6 million transactions respectively.

To protect the UPI ecosystem from dominance by a handful of players, NPCI had put a cap of 30% of the total volume of transactions processed in UPI for all third-party app providers. However, NPCI has given leeway to existing players such as PhonePe and Google Pay to comply with the mandate till the end of the year.

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