Money & Banking

WhatsApp wins approval to double payments offering to 40 million users in India

Our Bureau | | | Updated on: Nov 27, 2021
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The NPCI had given WhatsApp approval to start its payments service in 2020

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has permitted WhatsApp to roll out its payment services to 40 million Indian users, double of its current cap of 20 million users, a source in the know confirmed BusinessLine .

Earlier, WhatsApp had requested that there should be no cap on the number of users for its payment services in India, especially in a scenario where the messaging app commands a user base of over 400 million in India.

Emails sent to WhatsApp and NPCI went unanswered at the time of publishing.

The story was first reported by Reuters.

Compliance hurdles

WhatsApp has been working on its payment services for quite some time now, having faced several compliance hurdles in India around data storage and localisation norms.

It then had been beta testing for a while before going live in November last year, following a phased roll out approved by NPCI. The payment service feature is built on NPCI’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI).

Also see: NPCI Bharat BillPay onboards Tata Power as the first power company on ClickPay

WhatsApp is a subsidiary of the global social media giant Facebook (and now Meta) and competes with Google Pay, PhonePe and Paytm among others in the Indian digital payments ecosystem.

Other fintech products

Though the payment service took some time, WhatsApp has been actively offering various fintech products in partnership with traditional banks like the State Bank of India and HDFC Bank and small finance banks including AU Small Finance Bank and Equitas Small Finance Bank, which use WhatsApp as a medium to reach its next phase of customers in the unorganised and remote markets.

WhatsApp in its fintech play is also looking at working with merchants in the MSME sector and local kiranas. It will onboard these merchants and help them in digitising their store fronts over the messaging app.

Published on November 27, 2021

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