Whatsapp is readying an in-chats payments feature more likely to launch in December in India. This promises to make customers onboarding an extremely easy task. It could more likely be biggest threat for the players in the Indian digital payments ecosystem. This is also the first time that whatsapp is introducing the payments feature anywhere in the world.
The feature is in its final stages and whatsapp employees are testing it out. Sources said that “They are likely to do some sort of an extended beta program for the feature in November and by the December you can expect a full rollout”. The company has also partnered with three banks- State bank of India, ICICI bank and HDFC bank, to launch the feature.The uniqueness of the feature is that the user can make payments without leaving the chat interface like sharing a contact or location. A window with a rupee symbol will pop up along with the buttons that allow users to share a location or contact when a user clicks on the attach symbol in the chat window. On clicking the rupee button, the user can either send or request money. The user can either request or send money. The user will get a notification, similar to the one when you receive a contact. There is an option to accept or reject the request.
This is the first time whatsapp is launching a feature like this anywhere in the world. The payments stack called unified payments interface is present in India makes it easy for others to integrate with the banks.In India, wallets such as Paytm and PhonePe also facilitate business to business transactions such as bill payments. Whatsapp for business is being rolled out with merchants such as BookMyShow, Ola, Oyo and airlines companies. But, as of now, we don’t know if whatsapp will integrate its payment feature with whatsapp for business. A mobile wallet company says “The new rules will make wallets interoperable and money can be transferred from one mobile wallet to other and to another bank account as well”
Whatsapp’s payments effort in india is being led by Neeraj Arora, it’s global business head. Paymets over UPI have been growing at a fast clip. With the payments interface, India has became a sort of ground zero for digital payments innovation.