WhatsApp is considering letting Indian users send payments to each other inside the messaging service. That’s according to a report from Indian website The Ken, which suggested WhatsApp may use UPI, a government-backed platform.
“India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India,” a WhatsApp spokeperson told TechCrunch. “We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users.”
Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, but already offers a payment system in its own Messenger in the US, which is expected to be rolled out in the UK after the social network applied for e-money approval last year.
However, such payments could prove particularly useful for WhatsApp after its announcement last year that it would add a slew of business features – including the ability for businesses to directly contact individual users. WhatsApp has reportedly started testing such a system startups in the Y Combinator incubator in California, and the ability for those users to send a payment in response would be clearly useful. If you can order a pizza via a chatbot in the messaging app, it’d be handy to be able to pay there, too.
While such tests are being run in California, it makes sense that a payment feature would be also tested and potentially first rolled out in India, which is WhatsApp’s biggest market with a fifth of its billion users.
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