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Updated on: Monday, August 23, 2021, 10:31 PM IST

WhatsApp to make payments faster and easier; users skeptical amid privacy policy row

Photo by Anton from Pexels

Photo by Anton from Pexels

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WhatsApp Pay, launched in November 2020, has sought to make payment procedures as simple as possible for its users by bringing new and improved features for payment on the platform.

A new shortcut is most likely to be added to make payments even faster. Instead of entering the chat actions page to send payments, the new functionality will allow users to access the option from a separate dedicated button for payments in the chat bar.

According to WABetaInfo, this new option will be accessible to Indian users who have updated the app on their devices with the most recent version of WhatsApp beta for Android from v.2.21.17

The "payments feature" was first introduced in India in February 2018 as part of a test run by the Facebook-owned messaging app. This was made available to millions of users as part of a collaboration with ICICI Bank. Whatsapp Pay works with India's top five banks: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank.

On February 7, 2020, the messaging app gained authorization from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to roll out its digital payment service in a phased manner. However, many users did not receive the function right away when it was released, even after refreshing their app numerous times. Although it appears that most Android and iOS users now have the feature.

Sending and receiving money on Whatsapp works in the same way as it does on Google Pay, Paytm, and other UPI apps. Users can either tap the prompt to set up their payments right away or do so later in the WhatsApp Settings menu.

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Is it really safe?

Despite the fact that the feature is made easy to use, a recent study based on a survey showed that the majority of people stated they will not utilize Whatsapp payment facilities and may even stop using business chat if the software shares information with Facebook and third parties.

"I am someone who's not really skeptical when it comes to adopting new technology and its advancements. I am open to trying out new ways to make life easier, but I'm not really for the whole idea of having money transactions on WhatsApp due to safety concerns. After all, it is still a social media platform, before anything, making it an easy target for hackers, especially as we live in a world where phishing attacks are constantly on the rise", said Sarnish Malik, a 21-year-old media professional from Thane.

While most people worry about the platform's safety for carrying out transactions involving money, others are still not aware of the payment feature on the platform.

Godwin Mathew, a Sports Writer from Mumbai, told the Free press Journal: "I don't know much about it, but I have heard it is unsafe".

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Even though the Facebook-owned messaging app is one of India's most popular apps, convincing millions of people to utilize its payment system would be difficult, especially after the platform's privacy policy has been the subject of multiple controversies.

However, the platform has a lot of promise in the digital money transaction area if it listens to its consumers and successfully earns their trust.

"I use my credit and debit cards and occasional net banking for transactions. I do not trust the other options. I have also heard countless stories of individual's social media accounts getting hacked. So that does not give me the confidence to dabble in social media-related payment platforms", said Shery John, General Manager at Malayala Manorama, Mumbai.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Monday, August 23, 2021, 10:31 PM IST
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