WhatsApp Pay now available in India in 10 regional languages after govt nod

‘You can find it in the latest version of WhatsApp... There’s no fee, and it’s supported by more than 140 banks. And because it’s WhatsApp, it's secure and private too,’ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said

WhatsApp, social media, health, The Federal, English news website
WhatsApp users can book an Uber ride in three ways: By messaging to Uber’s business account number, scanning a QR code, or clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat

The Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp got the nod from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Thursday (November 5) to start its payments service in the country.

WhatsApp has 400 million users in India while other Third Party App Providers (TPAPs) – Google Pay had 75 million and PhonePe had 60 million – as of May. WhatsApp has been running a pilot service for the last two years but was not given a formal go-ahead because of data localisation requirements.

“Payments is available now in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp. All you need is a debit card with a bank that supports UPI and you can set it up straight away. You can find it in the latest version of WhatsApp,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying in a statement on Friday.

Related news: Watchdog Competition Commission dismisses complaint against WhatsApp


“Now you can send money to your friends and family through WhatsApp as easily as sending a message. There’s no fee, and it’s supported by more than 140 banks. And because it’s WhatsApp, it’s secure and private too,” he added.

“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,” the NPCI said in a statement.

The NPCI’s announcement came minutes after it limited a single third party like WhatsApp or its rivals like Google Pay or Walmart’s PhonePe to handle only 30% of overall UPI transaction volumes by putting a cap.

Related news: COVID times – Your WhatsApp fact-checker just a text away

NPCI runs the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) used for real-time payments between peers or at merchants’ end while making purchases.

Having a cap on the transaction volume will help in de-risking the entire set-up and is essential as UPI, which surpassed two billion transactions a month mark in October, grows further, NPCI said in a statement.

The industry has been feeling that allowing WhatsApp into payments may drive up volumes in the Indian digital payments space. In China, Wechat alone has over 1 billion active users for its payment services.

NPCI issued two separate statements on WhatsApp and on limiting the transaction volumes.

A “cap of 30 per cent of total volume of transactions processed in UPI” will be applicable on all TPAPs from January 1, 2021, NPCI said in a statement. “It will help to address the risks and protect the UPI ecosystem as it further scales up.”

The cap of 30% will be calculated on the basis of the total volume of transactions processed in UPI during the preceding three months on a rolling basis, as per NPCI.

According to the statement, existing TPAPs exceeding the specified cap will have a period of two years from January 2021 to comply with the same in a phased manner.

(With inputs from PTI)