Payments could land in WhatsApp soon in India [Update]

It looks as though Indian users could be treated to peer-to-peer payments via WhatsApp in the near future. Several screenshots have surfaced which show payments screens inside of WhatsApp. They appear to reveal that the payments will be handled via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) from the National Payments Corporation of India.

The feature looks fairly complete judging by the screenshots, they even list some of the banks which are compatible. The state of the feature could mean that we see it arrive in the very near future. It's still not clear at this point whether Facebook will be awarded the @whatsapp suffix for its UPI-backed payments system, or not.

Screenshots depicting the WhatsApp Payments setup process

Mobile payments have become popular over the last few years after the Indian government ceased circulation of its two highest-denomination banknotes. Many users subsequently signed up to several online wallets, however, with WhatsApp planning to launch a similar product, many users may switch to the WhatsApp offering instead because it already has 200 million users in India.

Facebook already offers a similar service via its Messenger application within the United States, however, in the rest of the world it really doesn’t offer much in the way of payments. Mobile payments are very well established in China through WeChat Pay, in the second quarter of 2017, mobile payments had grown in China by 40.5% year-on-year. Players in the West will no doubt want to create user dependency via mobile payment systems but the progress is still slow.

Facebook launched WhatsApp Business last month, a separate application which gives businesses another way to connect with potential and existing customers. WhatsApp Business is expected to quite beneficial in India and Brazil who already communicate with their customers via WhatsApp.

Update: IDs appear to be automatically generated by WhatsApp; this suggests that the implementation used by WhatsApp is heavily focused on sending money from one WhatsApp user to another WhatsApp user, rather than from WhatsApp to any UPI ID.

Source: WABetaInfo via MacRumors | Cover image via Inc42. Article image via WABetaInfo

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