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Instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Wednesday said it expects to facilitate the purchase of "affordable sachet-sized" health insurance through its platform by the end of the year as part of its efforts to provide users in India with greater access to financial solutions.

The Facebook owned company said by the end of this year, buying affordable health insurance coverage from SBI General leveraging WhatsApp, will be a reality.

This initiative is a part of its efforts to provide users in India with greater access to financial solutions.

Meanwhile, the WhatsApp has gone live with its payments offering in India with four banks—State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank.

WhatsApp in its press release mentioned that it counts India as its biggest market, and will now offer Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based payments to its users.

It was given permission to go live by the National Payments Corporation of India in November 2020.

"WhatsApp is deeply committed to India with over 400 million active users, this is our largest market. Our primary focus will always be to provide the most simple, reliable, private and secure experience for people to connect with each other. However, in India we are also building on four other pillars," WhatsApp India Head Abhijit Bose said at the Facebook Fuel for India 2020 event.

It will also continue to deepen its investments in India by developing and scaling social impact programs, Bose said.

"WhatsApp has proactively been working on several pilots to help ensure that every adult has access to the most basic critical financial and livelihood services through their mobile device. By the end of this year, we expect that people will be able to buy affordable sachet sized health insurance through WhatsApp," Bose said.

Similarly, with HDFC Pensions and pinBox solutions, WhatsApp will be leveraged to help enable savings for retirement that will be especially beneficial for people who do not have organised employment benefits or a retirement corpus to fall back on.

WhatsApp has designed its payments feature on National Payments Corporation of India's (NPCI) Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system and was granted approvals to go live recently in November this year on a peer-to-peer (P2P) basis enabling people to transfer money.

Last month, Facebook-owned WhatsApp received approval from NPCI for rolling out its payments services in India. In 2018, WhatsApp started testing its UPI-based payments services in India -- a global first -- with about a million users.

WhatsApp with over 400 million users -- will compete with players like Paytm, Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe and Amazon Pay in the country.

(with PTI inputs)

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Free Press Journal