WhatsApp payments start rolling again in India for a wider audience in the latest stable version of the app on Android and iOS

According to a survey, more than 400 million people in India use WhatsApp as their prime messaging app. Back in 2018, WhatsApp started testing payments service in India for a limited number of people, almost around 1 million. Due to regulatory processes through various bodies in the country, especially with so many concerns over WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook’s transparency, the project was walled to some extent. However, now, WhatsApp has again started expanding this feature for a wider audience of around 20 million people in ten Indian regional languages. This payments service will be available in the stable version of the latest WhatsApp update on both iOS as well as Android.

India is one of the first countries that have developed a very efficient and fairly transparent real-time payment system in association with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). This payment method is called ‘Unified Payments Interface’ (UPI) and it is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India. It instantly transfers funds from one bank to the other through an easy-to-use mobile platform. This interbank transfer method is considered one of the best in the world especially in comparison to mobile wallet apps that charge a service fee and are not so efficient either as they are not inter-operable between two mobile wallet apps.

NPCI has recently announced that WhatsApp payments service in India can begin in a graded manner with initially 20 million users. The five leading banks in India that have become partners with NPCI and WhatsApp for this service include the ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, Jio Payments Bank, and the State Bank of India.

NPCI has enforced a cap on third-party apps by limiting the amount of UPI transactions. As per their announcement, no single app can process more than 30% of all UPI transactions in a period of thirty days.

Amongst the top-most used apps, Google and Walmart are currently dominating the mobile payments market in India with almost around 80% of the UPI market share.

The CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg recently said that the UPI payment system of India is quite unique, and it is a pleasure for Facebook to partner with India and to integrate the UPI system with WhatsApp to open more opportunities for micro finances and small businesses in the rapidly digitalizing country. Zuckerberg believes that when people have access to easy financial tools and solutions, they become more empowered. This is what UPI has done for the people of India as it has brought them easy ways to support their finances and start-up their own businesses. Through the WhatsApp payment service, this empowerment will increase further.

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