Facebook-owned WhatsApp has obtained the regulatory approval to launch a payments service in India. The popular chatting platform had been testing the feature in beta version for more than two-and-a-half years. The approval means WhatsApp can now low launch on Unified Payments Interface. The service will be launched in a graded manner to a maximum of 20 million users. WhatsApp is hugely popular in India and has over 400 million strong user base. WhatsApp’s payment service will compete with major players like Paytm, Google Pay, PhonePe, and others. These platforms have reported a massive surge in transactions during the time of the pandemic. They offer a convenient method transfer funds.
WhatsApp said that users in India will soon securely send and receive money. The payment feature is available for both Android and iOS users. Users will require having the latest version of WhatsApp on their smartphone. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement that the company’s efforts have finally being recognized. He said that a dedicated team was working with the National Payments Corporation of India for a long to fulfill the requirements. The NPCI is responsible for managing the UPI. The NPCI had in August told the Reserve Bank of India that WhatsApp has all requirements in place including the data localization for launching the services.
India is the second country where Facebook is rolling out the WhatsApp payments service. Earlier in June, the service was launched in Brazil. WhatsApp began testing the payments feature in 2018 in India. It couldn’t launch the service due to the delay in obtaining regulatory approval. WhatsApp faced roadblocks before its featured was approved by the NPCI. Besides clearing the NPCI hurdles, WhatsApp also faced the Supreme Court heat. A petition was filed in the top court against WhatsApp over data localization compliance. That company was asked to revise data localization compliance to launch the services. WhatsApp said that it has added a strong set of security and privacy rules. Users will require entering a personal UPI PIN before transferring funds. The service will be available in 10 regional languages.