FinTech: Facebook’s WhatsApp Cleared To Roll Out UPI Payments In India

November 6, 2020 | FinTech, News

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has given the green light to WhatsApp to roll out its payments service.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) said today in a video message that WhatsApp is now cleared to offer a payment service in 10 Indian regional languages using the United Payments Interface (UPI). (The Hindu)

NCPI gives the go-ahead

In a brief press release, the NPCI said it had approved WhatsApp to “Go Live” on UPI in the multi-bank model.

“WhatsApp can expand its UPI user base in a graded manner starting with the maximum registered user base of twenty (20) million in UPI,” the agency said.

The NPCI is India’s umbrella organization for operating retail payment and settlement systems in the country. It introduced several retail payment products such as the RuPay card, Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), and Unified Payments Interface (UPI). It also developed the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), BHIM Aadhaar, National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC Fastag), and Bharat BillPay.

Mark Zuckerberg’s video message

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, said in a video message that India’s UPI interface was something “truly special.”

WhatsApp’s Indian payments service is built upon UPI. It began testing its payment service with about a million users in early 2018.

Zuckerberg said UPI had opened up a world of opportunities for micro and small businesses in India.

He added: “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.”

WhatsApp’s blog details the procedure

WhatsApp announced the roll-out of its payments service in India in a blog. It said it was necessary to have a bank account and debit card to avail of the service.

“WhatsApp sends instructions to banks, also known as payment service providers, that initiate the transfer of money via UPI between sender and receiver bank accounts. We’re delighted to be working with five leading banks in India: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank. People can send money on WhatsApp to anyone using a UPI supported app.”

WhatsApp will compete with entrenched players such as Paytm, Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google Pay, Walmart Inc.’s (NYSE: WMT) PhonePe, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Amazon Pay, and many other startups.

However, it already has a massive user base of 400 million. That gives WhatsApp a huge advantage in a digital payments market likely to be $1 trillion in size by 2023.

Related Story:    Facebook’s WhatsApp Payments Service Hits Regulatory Wall in Brazil

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