How to use WhatsApp Pay to send money to contacts?
Facebook-owned WhatsApp first introduced an in-app money transfer service in 2018 as part of a trial. Named WhatsApp Pay, it officially launched last year and is now available to 20 million users in India. However, it doesn't seem to have caught on like rival UPI solutions—PhonePe and Google Pay—despite the Centre's Digital India initiative. WhatsApp Pay isn't popular yet, but here's how to use it.
According to Statista, India had over 340 million WhatsApp users as of January 2021. That is the largest number of WhatsApp users from a single country. Brazil ranks a distant second with 99 million users. However, when it was launched over two years ago as a test in partnership with ICICI Bank, WhatsApp Pay was available to just one million users in India.
Business Standard reported that on February 7, 2020, WhatsApp Pay received approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for a widespread rollout in a phased manner. The first phase made the payment service available to 10 million people. Today, around 20 million of India's 340 million WhatsApp users have access to WhatsApp Pay. It would be rolled out to more users soon.
The service operates like any other UPI app available in India. To use the feature, open WhatsApp on your device and navigate to your chat with the intended recipient of the money. Now, tap the paperclip icon used to attach media. There, select the Payment option (visible if you're one of the select 20 million users). You'll be asked to link your bank account.
After the initial setup process, you can revisit the Payment option and enter the amount you wish to transfer to the recipient. The payment will be processed after you authenticate it using your UPI PIN. A confirmation message will be displayed in your chat with the recipient. The system is more convenient than seeking the recipient's account details and IFS Code for a transfer.
However, according to statistics released by NPCI in March this year, WhatsApp Pay processed a dismal 0.55 million transactions amounting to just Rs. 32.41 crore. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, starting with how WhatsApp Pay is available only to 20 million Indians, while rival UPI platforms like PhonePe and Google Pay can tap into a much larger market of users.
Additionally, the recent colossal breaches of Facebook's databases also suggest it's not the best idea to link your bank account with a Facebook product, just for the convenience of being able to send money to a WhatsApp contact. However, you can try out WhatsApp Pay if you believe the convenience of having conversations and payments on the same app is worth the risk.