Tuesday: World’s most popular instant messaging service, WhatsApp may soon introduce peer-to-peer payments platform, The Ken reported. The media company also reported that WhatsApp plans to use UPI, a cross-bank payment system backed by the government, to begin enable payments between users within the next six months.
A job advertisement on WhatsApp’s website said it was looking for a candidate with a technical and financial background – who understands India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and the BHIM payments app that enable money transfers and merchant payments using mobile numbers – to be its digital transactions lead for the country.
The Centre has heavily promoted digital transactions following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on November 8.
In February, reports said WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton had met with Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to negotiate commercial messages and digital transaction features. Acton had said WhatsApp planned on using India as a testing ground for the business version of the app.
Communications app Truecaller recently started a mobile payment service in India based on the UPI model.
WhatsApp’s owner Facebook added payments to its Messenger app some time ago in the U.S., but such a feature inside WhatsApp could be far more transformative in India, where Messenger is less popular. Credit card penetration is far lower in India, while WhatsApp has already emerged as a platform for facilitating e-commerce despite currently offering no features that expressly support that.