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WhatsApp Says ‘Payments’ Will Roll Out in India Later This Year

The company’s payment service has been stuck in beta version for more than a year in the country.

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WhatsApp Says ‘Payments’ Will Roll Out in India Later This Year
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WhatsApp Global Head Will Cathcart on Wednesday said the company could roll out its payments service to users across India later this year.

The messaging app, which is reportedly said to have 400 million users in India, has been testing its payments in the country since last year with about a million users.

Cathcart said the company’s vision is to make sending money as easy as sending a message on the platform. WhatsApp has partnered with multiple banks in the country, and using the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) ecosystem, its beta roll out has probably gone according to the plan.

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WhatsApp’s service, which would compete against the likes of Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay, is yet to be rolled out nationally in India.

We believe that if we get this right, it will accelerate financial inclusion and bring value for people in India’s fast growing digital economy, We can’t wait to provide the service more of our users all across India later this year
Will Cathcart, Global Head, WhatsApp

The number of WhatsApp users in India wasn’t exactly mentioned by the company. In fact, it was Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog, speaking at the event who mentioned it, while speaking to Cathcart.

I think you are wasting your time in Silicon Valley, there are more challenges & opportunities now in India with 400 million WhatsApp users here
Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog to Will Cathcart, Global Head, WhatsApp
WhatsApp has neither confirmed or denied the number quoted at the event, but it’s likely to have added new set of users over the past 12 to 14 months, which is likely to put it monthly active users at around 400 million. 

The company’s journey to kickstart payments hasn’t been a smooth sailing.

Its payments blueprint in India has been caught in a bind over concerns around authentication and its data storage practices. In the past, its home grown rivals have alleged that WhatsApp’s payment platform has security risks for consumers and is not in compliance with the guidelines.

Back in October last year, WhatsApp had said it has developed a system to store payments-related data in India as part of compliance with the Reserve Bank of India’s policy on storing such data locally.

After that in May this year, the messaging app had told the Supreme Court that its trial run is likely to be completed by July, and that it will not launch payments services without fully complying with the central bank norms, which heavily refers to the locally storing of data of Indian users.

(With PTI inputs)

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