WhatsApp has officially started its payments service in India after the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) gave its approval. This service is available for users on the latest version of the iPhone and Android app. The messaging app had been running a peer-to-peer payments service with limited users for past two years and had been awaiting regulatory approvals. All major payments players in India use the UPI framework, which has been developed by NPCI.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, in a video statement said payments is available now in 10 regional language versions of WhatsApp. The messaging platform, which considers India as its biggest market with over 400 million users, had partnered with five Indian banks including State Bank of India and Jio Payments Bank for this service. In an official blog, it said the payments feature, in partnership with NPCI using the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), an India-first, real-time payment system that enables transactions with over 160 supported banks.
To send money via WhatsApp, its necessary for users to have a bank account and debit card in India. The platform sends instructions to the banks (payment service providers) that initiate the transfer of money via UPI between the sender and receiver bank accounts. Users can send money on the messaging platform to anyone using a UPI-supported app. WhatsApp believes that the combination of the platform and UPI’s unique architecture can help local organizations address some of the key challenges, including rural participation in the digital economy and delivering financial services to those who have never had access before. Moreover, users have been assured that the payments is designed with a strong set of security and privacy principles, including entering a personal UPI PIN for each payment.
WhatsApp, through its payments service, has now joined the league of companies boosting India’s vision of a cashless economy. With its 400 million plus userbase, the platform will positively push digital payments across the country.