Late last year, India ceased circulation of its two highest-denomination bank notes in a bid to tackle the flow of money associated with corruption and terrorist activities. The move fuelled the popularity of mobile wallet solutions, such as Paytm which has amassed over 200 million wallet users, providing a significant incentive for Samsung to integrate the service with Samsung Pay in time for its Indian launch.
Now, it seems that there may be an unexpected contender in the person-to-person payment space in the form of WhatsApp, which currently takes pole position as the most popular messaging app with over 200 million users in India alone.
According to reports, the Facebook-owned company has been in discussions with the Indian Government to incorporate support for UPI (Unified Payments Interface), a challenger payment system launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), into its messaging app. UPI-based Payments can be initiated quickly and simply via text message, an obvious synergy with WhatsApp, while facilitating an instant transfer of funds between two bank accounts.
In response to the claim, a WhatsApp spokesperson avoided denying it outright and said:
"India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we're understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India."
"We're exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users."
The report comes just weeks WhatsApp co-founder, Brian Acton, met with Indian Government representatives to examine how the company could contribute to "India's vision for digital commerce."
With Paytm firmly locked in its crosshairs, NCPI will be keen to carve out a sizeable chunk of the mobile payment market for UPI, and support from WhatsApp could just be what it needs to shore up its aggressive efforts.