WhatsApp Messenger was launched as a freeware and cross-platform instant messaging and Voice over IP service that allows sending of text messages and voice calls, as well as video calls, images and other media, documents, and user location. Over time the simple messenger has been innovating itself by identifying ways to connect to the masses.
As per the latest from the app, WhatsApp’s highly anticipated peer-to-peer payment service may become available to users in India as early as next month. There have been talks about activating payments feature on WhatsApp for a while now. Last year there were reports of WhatsApp Beta version testing a UPI payment feature, then there was a report about an in-chat payment systems launch last month and now the speculations have surfaced again. Considering the widespread use of WhatsApp in India, 200 million active users, this feature could be that push that digital payments ecosystem needs to make it a lot more mainstream.
The most widely used messaging app in India is at various stages of integrating its Unified Payments Interface (UPI)- based payments platform with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank. As per the information received, the platform is already in beta stage (testing) with one of its partner banks. It is highly expected that the product will go live for consumers by the end of February, depending on how the trials work out.
Digital transactions in the country have reportedly crossed the 1 billion mark this December after recording nearly 1.06 billion transactions. There was a hike of about 6.5 percent in comparison to November which had 998 million total digital transactions up to that point. There have been around 145 million UPI transactions which took place in December, 104 million in November and 76.7 million in October. Some of the major players which have helped the adoption of UPI include digital wallet apps such as Paytm, Google Tez, PhonePe and Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM).
While WhatsApp has clearly lost the first mover advantage in this case, it still can race past the competition thanks to its massive user base in the country. India, one of the biggest markets for WhatsApp, has more than 200 million users on the platform.