WhatsApp image/Representational image
WhatsApp image/Representational image

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service is all set to launch payment services in India, Mint reported on Monday.

The move comes after the National Payments Corporation of India informed the Reserve Bank of India that Facebook-owned WhatsApp had complied with all requirements, including data localising.

Notably, WhatsApp had received a go-ahead from NCPI in February this year to operate its digital payment service in a phased manner.

However, New Delhi-based think tank, Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change, challenged the project for allegedly not adhering to data localisation norms.

The Mint report added that an affidavit filed by RBI in the Supreme Court last week said NPCI had told the central bank in June that it was satisfied with WhatsApp’s compliance with the regulator’s data storage rules and was good to go live on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform.

WhatsApp, which has over 400 million users of its messaging service in India, rolled out payments through WhatsApp to a million users as a part of the trial run in February 2018. The company partnered with ICICI Bank for the trial run and made WhatsApp Pay available for select users. However, back then, the US-based social media giant did not get permission from various regulators for the wider rollout.

Through WhatsApp Pay, users can send money directly through chat by tapping on the share file icon in the chat bar and selecting ‘payment’. There’s a dedicated ‘Payments’ section available under the shortcut menu. During the initial phase, WhatsApp Pay allowed users to send money only to their contacts after which it enabled UPI ID. WhatsApp Pay users could enter the UPI ID and send money.

As per a recent study, UPI payments have become popular in India. According to a report by Razorpay, digital transactions are estimated to have grown by 338 percent from 2018 to 2019. Interestingly, the usage of cards declined to 46 percent in 2019 from 56 per cent in 2018, and and netbanking to 11 per cent from 23 per cent in 2018. UPI, on the other hand, grew to 38 per cent in 2019 from 17 per cent in the previous year.

Among UPI, Google Pay contributed 59 per cent, PhonePe contributed 26 per cent, followed by Paytm (7 per cent) and BHIM (6 per cent) in digital transactions in 2019. Amazon Pay was the most preferred wallet among consumers (33 per cent), followed by Ola Money (17 per cent) in 2019.

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