India is the first market where the ambitious payment system is to be launched later this year. The company might probably call it “WhatsApp Pay” or something like that.
Anonymous sources said to know the matter claim that WhatsApp payments feature is in the final stages of its development, and it might enter an extended beta phase by November with a full rollout in December.
WhatsApp has tied strings with various Indian banks including SBI, ICICI, and HDFC. All the three are having nation wide-reach. The UPI (Unified Payments Interface)-based in-app payment feature is likely to land as an option in the ‘Attach’ section on the chat page as a Rupee button. Users will be able to send or request money using WhatsApp Pay.
Is it good or bad?
The upcoming WhatsApp payment system seems to be a threat to existing digital wallets in India. One significant advantage WhatsApp has at their disposal is their customer base of around 200 million users which is enough to ring the alarm for their competitors.
Nothing much can be said right now but Whatsapp’s payment system could offer an increased level of convenience to the users. However, the situation might be different in real-life scenarios.
For instance, PayTM, a major player in this field, has deep roots in India’s digital payments market with almost every roadside vendor accepting PayTm, not to mention their collaboration with Uber and presence on various e-commerce platforms.
Moreover, Google has also rolled out their UPI-based payment app called Tez. There is one big thing I learned from Tez. It doesn’t matter even you’re Google, you have to run offers to make the Indian public use your product. Flipkart and Amazon have also entered into the digital payments market with PhonePe and Amazon Pay respectively.
But, in the case of WhatsApp, the story might take a different turn as people already use their messaging app extensively. And their UPI-based payment can facilitate bank to bank transaction as a plus point. They can also use the payment service to give a boost to their ‘WhatsApp for Business’ platform which is having partners including BookMyShow, Ola, Oyo, etc.
One possible hurdle can arise when making payment to unknown users, such as grocery stores, cab drivers, etc. A person only shows up in the WhatsApp app if you have him in contacts. Obviously, you won’t want to add every next person you meet to your contact list. Even if its just to make a payment. But who knows, WhatsApp might have figured out something for it, or, if they plan to keep WhatsApp Pay limit to friend-to-friend payments.
What are your views on WhatsApp Pay? Drop them in the comments.