BENGALURU (Reuters) – WhatsApp will be rolling out its payment service to India in this year, after a year-long pilot project, the global chief, Will Cathcart said, as the Facebook-owned messaging giant cranes, with a growth of digital payments, in a dominant position on the market.
FILE PHOTO: The-WhatsApp, the messaging application is displayed on a display screen of the phone by the 3rd of August 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo
WhatsApp has been widely used in India, where the data consumption is rising, thanks to cheap internet access, but it is a full implementation of the payment was delayed in the middle of some of the false reports doing the rounds on the platform, which led to the mob lynching, and the more the government controls, according to local media reports.
The Menlo Park, Calif. – based company has been trying to comply with Indian regulations, including those of data storage standards, which require that any payment-related data to be stored locally.
“It has been a legal adoption, the question in India is, at this point,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday, in the company’s earnings conference call in terms of WhatsApp to Pay for it.
“We are also working out of India, and a number of other countries, and hope to have it rolled out to a large percentage of the people who use WhatsApp will be in the next one year,” he added.
WhatsApp now has 400 million users in India, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday, accounts for almost one-third of India’s population of 1.3 billion. The person did not wish to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.
WhatsApp messenger payments feature would compete on a crowded market in India, which includes the Alphabet, Inc. will Pay Google, Softbank and Alibaba-backed Paytm and Walmart’s PhonePe, all of which have been in use, particularly in urban areas, in order to pay for everything from groceries to Uber rides.
Digital-payment services, credit and e-wallet services is growing fast in India, being led by a government that is delivering more to the country’s cash-loving traders, and consumers in the formal economy.
“Payment services are essential to the … making millions and millions of people in India’s rapidly growing digital economy,” Will Cathcart, WhatsApp’s global head, said in New Delhi on Thursday.
Cathcart was speaking at an event to announce a new collaboration with India’s top government think tank, the NITI Aayog for the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship.
“No, We can’t wait to get to this level of service to our customers in India this year,” Cathcart said.
WhatsApp usage in India is a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) – a standard that is used by many other e-payment services, which is growing rapidly — UPI processes over 750 million transactions last month, up from about 246 million a year earlier.
Reporting Sachin Ravikumar; Additional reporting by Arnab Paul; editing by Gopakumar Warrier