WhatsApp Pay may finally be launched this month: Details here
WhatsApp's much-coveted digital payments service, WhatsApp Pay, may finally be launched by the end of this month. The UPI-based feature, which has been in the testing phase since 2018, will reportedly go live with select partner banks to make sending money as simple as sending a message for 400 million users of the Facebook-owned messaging app. Here's all you need to know about it.
In a recent conversation with bankers familiar with the developments around WhatsApp Pay, Moneycontrol learned that the service is set to be launched by May-end. The staffers said four banks - SBI, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, and HDFC - are in the process of integrating with the service but only three (all except SBI) will be joining in the first phase of the roll-out.
According to the report, SBI is working closely with WhatsApp for integration but will come in at a later stage, owing to delays revolving around the requirement of a "robust security architecture" in compliance with the government's regulatory guidelines. Notably, Google Pay, one of WhatsApp Pay's prime competitors, has already roped in ICICI, HDFC, Axis, and SBI for enabling UPI-based transfers, payments.
WhatsApp has been testing payments with its 1 million users in partnership with ICICI Bank. The test started in 2018 but the company has struggled to expand beyond that figure due to regulatory issues and the data localization guidelines from the RBI. Now, it may finally solve those issues and receive the approval of National Payments Corporation of India for wider roll-out.
That said, it must be noted that the wider roll-out of the service will be executed in phases to ensure that partner banks are not overwhelmed with a sudden spike in transaction volumes. Over 100 million Indians use UPI-based services but WhatsApp alone has a user-base of 400 million, which shows the kind of push it will give to India's digital payments ecosystem.
"They will release payments product systemically over the next few months, there was an initial plan to scale it up to 10 million but that got held up because of a public interest litigation (to stop beta testing) in the Supreme Court," one banker said.