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WhatsApp Pay coming to India next month?

A new report suggests that Facebook is just a month away from rolling out its mobile payments system, WhatsApp Pay, to users in India.
By
January 19, 2018
TL;DR
  • WhatsApp Pay may arrive in India in February, according to a new report.
  • This is said to allow for simple, peer-to-peer transactions, and merchant transactions in future.
  • Security concerns present a significant hurdle for Facebook to overcome before rolling it out.

It was speculated last April that the WhatsApp Pay mobile payments system could be here within 6 months. Though we’re now several months past that period, a new report suggests WhatsApp Pay may still lie just around the corner.

The information arrives from a source at The Economic Times, who said the platform “is already in beta stage with one of [Facebook’s] partner banks.” The source also added that it could roll out fully next month, depending on how the trial period works out.

A banker separately confirmed that this system was in the latter stages of development in the nation.

Google Pay makes a lot of sense
Features

This would be a huge development not just for Facebook (who owns WhatsApp) and the more than 200 million active WhatsApp users in India, but also the Indian government. WhatsApp will apparently use a government-backed system called the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to allow users to send each other money within the app—presenting a significant opportunity to get (part of) the population accustomed to the mobile payments ecosystem.

But security concerns might hold up its rollout, as making these transfers simple and secure is believed to be a big undertaking that requires integration with various Indian banks. Ensuring this functions properly before the system goes live will be crucial.

Once the peer-to-peer transaction system is finalized, however, rolling it out for merchant payments would not “be a huge challenge,” said one of The Economic Times’ sources.

Would you be keen to send money through WhatsApp? Let us know in the comments.