Facebook-owned WhatsApp has started working on launching its payments service in other countries. It is currently waiting to get the “green light” from the Indian authorities to roll out the feature for its users in India. To recall, WhatsApp had been testing the service for quite some time in India, and if it receives a green signal from the Indian government, then we may soon see the feature rolling out for us as the testing phase is seemingly complete.
Whatsapp Payments Service: Roadblocks and the Awaited Nod From the Government of India
WhatsApp has been reportedly engaged with the Indian government, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and multiple banks to spread its payment service around the country. However, the Indian government currently wants Facebook-owned chat platform to focus more on curbing fake news citing numerious lynching incidents happening across the country. Although WhatsApp has recently added the “forwarded” tag for the viral messages to indicate their source, it seems that the Indian government wants it to come with more measures and priortize it over its plans of lauching the payments service. It seems that the rising cases over fake WhatsApp messages have become a roadblock for its plan of launching the payments service in India.
Other roadblocks have showed up in the form of concerns raised by financial institutions of India such as RBI. The primary concern is how and where WhatsApp’s payment service will store user’s data in accordance with RBI’s instructions, which is mandatory. The Indian government is reportedly awaiting clarity over such concerns from WhatsApp. It may take longer time to examine the service as WhatsApp has a huge userbase in India, over 200 million users.
Moreover, the Ministry of Electronics and IT earlier asked NPCI to check whether WhatsApp’s payments service abides RBI’s rules and offer user’s data security. WhatsApp has assured that sensitive data such as last 6 digits of a debit card and UPI PIN will not be stored by the service. It has also made it clear that the payment information won’t be used by the parent company i.e. Facebook for commercial purposes.
Whatsapp Payments Service: Testing Completes With 1M Users in India
At a recent investor call, Facebook’s Chief, Mark Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp “gives people a really simple way to send money to each other and contribute to greater financial inclusion”. Zuckerberg also said that user feedback during the payment service testing has been “very strong.”
“All signs point to a lot of people wanting to use this when the government gives us the green light. And in the meantime, we’ve broadened our focus to building this for other countries so we can give more people this ability faster,” Zuckerberg added further.
To recall, WhatsApp Payment service beta was joined by a million users in India. It seems that the test has been successful and the service received positive feedback from the testers.
WhatsApp Payments: How Does it Work
For the select users on WhatsApp version 2.18.46, the payment service is available. The payment option has been added to the Setting option in the app. After going to payment menu, users will have to verify their mobile number to link with the corresponding bank. After the linking is successful, user will have to accept the Terms & Conditions and then verify their phone number via SMS. WhatsApp will then show the list of banks linked with UPI, if you are a UPI user then you will have to select your bank account from the list and set it up. You will be asked to enter the last 6-digits of your debit card number along with the expiry date to set up Virtual Payee Address (VPA).
After the setup is complete, you will just have to open the WhatsApp chat for the other user you want to pay via WhatsApp Payment service. To make the payment, you will have to head to the payment option under the “attack” icon. After opening it, you will have to specify the amount followed by your UPI PIN and tapping on the send button. It’s worth noting that the receiver also needs to be on the same WhatsApp version with the Payments service enabled to get the money or else it will fail.