WhatsApp, which began testing its payments service in India in early 2018, has finally got the permission to expand the feature to more users in the country.
The Facebook -owned service announced that they will be rolling out payments in ten Indian regional languages in the latest stable version of WhatsApp app on Android as well as iOS. The announcement was made hours after National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the body responsible for operating the popular UPI payments infrastructure, said that they had given permission to WhatsApp to introduce the UPI-powered payments in the country.
Like Google, Samsung and a number of other firms, WhatsApp has also built its payments service atop UPI – this is the payments infrastructure which has been made by a coalition of large banks in India.
NPCI went on to say that WhatsApp has collected over 400 million users in India and this will give them the chance to expand payments to its users in a “graded manner”. For starters, it can only roll out the payments service to 20 million users and they will have to work with multiple banking partners. (WhatsApp has already announced they will be working with five leading banks in India: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, as well as the Jio Payments Bank.)
“With UPI, India has created something truly special and is opening up a world of opportunities for micro and small businesses that are the backbone of the Indian economy. India is the first country to do anything like this. I’m glad we were able to support this effort and work together to help achieve a more digital India. I want to thank all our partners who’ve made this possible. When people can access financial tools, they’re more empowered to support themselves and others, or start a business. Long term, we need more innovation that gives people control over their money, and making payments easier is a small step that can really help,” said Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, in a video posted Friday.