Back in 2018, WhatsApp began testing its payment service in India. The test involved about one million WhatsApp users in India and it took advantage of India's UPI (Unified Payments Interface) infrastructure to send and receive payments. The company, however, failed to receive approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to roll it out to everyone in India.
After trying for almost two years, WhatsApp finally received approval from NPCI earlier today. The regulatory body has allowed WhatsApp to roll out the payments service in a “graded manner”. NPCI further noted that WhatsApp can roll out the service to only 20 million users and has to work with multiple banks. Along with granting approval to WhatsApp, NPCI also announced that it will be capping UPI transactions by a single app to 30% in a bid to prevent monopoly by a single company. Currently, Walmart's PhonePe app sits at a comfortable 40% market share. India's UPI infrastructure has seen rapid growth, thanks to India's move to invalidate almost 85% of the paper currency back in 2016.
NPCI has given approval for Whatsapp to ''Go Live'' on UPI in the multi-bank model. WhatsApp can expand its UPI user base in a graded manner starting with a maximum registered user base of twenty (20) million in UPI.
WhatsApp is yet to comment on the announcement and has not clarified when it will start rolling out the payments service in India. However, if you are lucky enough to get early access to the payments service then you can follow the steps below to link your bank with WhatsApp and send money to your contacts:
- Open WhatsApp and select a contact. Tap on the 'attachment button' at the bottom.
- Select 'Payment'
- Select your bank from the list of banks
- Select 'verify via SMS' to verify your bank account linked to the phone number. You may also get an option to select the phone number if you have a dual-SIM phone. Ensure you select the number that is linked to your bank account
- Once done, you will see the list of bank account(s) that are linked to your phone number. Select the account that you want to use and you ready to send or receive payments
Once the accounts are linked, you can use the 'Payment' option under the attachment options to send money to contact. Do note that both the parties need to register for WhatsApp payments to send or receive payments. Unfortunately, WhatsApp does not allow users to send payments to specific UPI addresses so you can only send money to people who are in your WhatsApp contact list.