WhatsApp’s Global Head, Will Cathcart, has announced that ‘WhatsApp Pay’ will soon be rolled out for 400 million users in India. The Facebook-owned messaging app has been testing the payment feature in India since last year with about a million users.
With WhatsApp Pay, we want to make sending money as easy as sending a message on the platform, Cathcart said. He further added, ‘we believe that if we get this right, it will accelerate financial inclusion and bring value for people in India's fast-growing digital economy. We can't wait to provide the service to more of our users all across India later this year.’
Once rolled out, WhatsApp Pay will compete with already established payment services including Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay (only available in select cities right now). WhatsApp is also looking to bring its payment feature to other markets as well.
WhatsApp is one of the ambitious projects of the company in India, but it was earlier stopped from rolling out the payment service over issues of authentication and its data storage practices. In October of 2018, WhatsApp claimed that it’s developing a system to store payments-related data in India in compliance with the Reserve Bank of India's policy on storing such data locally.
WhatsApp Pay will use UPI to allow peer-to-peer transactions amongst its 200 million users. The company is also working to partner with HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and SBI to launch the feature. The service requires users to create an authentication pin and to set up a UPI account (if you don't have one previously) through the UPI app or your respective bank's website/app.