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WhatsApp may launch peer-to-peer payments within 6 months in India

WhatsApp could lay the foundations for its integrated transactions with the launch of P2P payment service in India.

Published onApril 4, 2017


WhatsApp may introduce peer-to-peer payments in India before the end of 2017, it has emerged. According to a report from The Ken (via TechCrunch), an India-based news website, WhatsApp will use a government-backed system called the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to allow users to send each other money in the app.

The arrival of peer-to-peer payments in WhatsApp has been on the cards for a while. The app’s co-founder, Brian Acton, stated in February that WhatsApp was “in early stages” of investigating such a service during a trip to India. Meanwhile, Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, rolled out peer-to-peer payments to its Messenger app in the US in 2015.

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Though WhatsApp hasn’t confirmed or denied these claims, it seems pretty likely that P2P payments will roll out before long.

David Marcus, the former PayPal president who now works as the Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, spoke to Wired in 2015 about the potential for Facebook’s payments scheme. Marcus claimed that this could not only be used for P2P payments but also for frictionless payments between consumers and businesses. “The margins on payments aren’t that high, and we want the broadest reach. Businesses will want to pay to be featured or promoted — which is a bigger opportunity for us,” said Marcus.

WhatsApp is likely to follow a similar path. We already know it wants businesses on the platform in a substantial way and building the foundation for integrated payments will open up a whole new avenue for monetization. Whether this process will begin this year in India remains to be seen, but we don’t have long to wait to find out.

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