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WhatsApp launches payments service, 2 yrs after it began testing in India

NEW DELHI: WhatsApp has launched its ‘WhatsApp Pay’ in Brazil two years after it began testing payments service in India.

In 2018, the Facebook-owned company started testing the service in India, allowing users to utilize the messaging platform to send and receive money.

However, the ambitious plan has been caught in a bind over regulatory issues.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Mark Zuckerberg CEO said that Brazil is the first country widely rolling out payments in WhatsApp.

WhatsApp payments service

"Today we're starting to launch payments to people who use WhatsApp in Brazil. We're making sending and receiving money as easy as sharing photos," he said, adding that small businesses will also be able to make sales right within WhatsApp.

"To do this, we are building on Facebook Pay, which provides a secure and consistent way to make payments across our apps," he said.

Zuckerberg said WhatsApp is working with local banks, including Banco do Brasil, Nubank, Sicredi, and Cielo, the leading payment processor for merchants in Brazil.

In a blog post, WhatsApp said it has built payments with security in mind and that a special six-digit PIN or fingerprint would be needed to prevent unauthorized transactions.

"To start, we will support debit or credit cards from Banco do Brasil, Nubank, and Sicredi on the Visa and Mastercard networks, and we are working with Cielo, the leading payment processor in Brazil. We have created an open model to welcome more partners in the future," it added.

WhatsApp has about 400 million users in India. It has been testing UPI-based payment service in India based on UPI - with about a million users.

While the company had hoped to expand its payment service to a larger userbase last year itself, it faced regulatory hurdles that delayed the full-fledged launch in India. Its rivals in the country include Softbank-supported Paytm, Flipkart's PhonePe, and Google Pay.

Interestingly, Facebook recently announced a USD 5.7 billion investment in Jio Platforms. Meanwhile, Jio Platforms, WhatsApp Inc, and Reliance Retail Ltd (RRL) have also proposed to enter into a separate commercial arrangement.

Under the agreement, JioMart, a new RRL  commerce marketplace that connects customers with Kirana stores and Indian small and micro companies, plans to integrate certain WhatsApp services with JioMart.

Also Read: India Gets Its First Natural Gas Trading Platform

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