WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Meta, has announced that it will allow users in India to make payments using credit cards and other digital payment services within its app. The move is seen as a bid to boost its commerce offerings in its biggest market, where it has more than 500 million users.
WhatsApp Pay, the in-app payment service launched by WhatsApp in India last year, has been limited to only 100 million users due to regulatory restrictions. Users who want to shop on WhatsApp using other payment methods, such as Google Pay, Paytm, or PhonePe, have to leave the app and complete the transaction on a different platform.
However, WhatsApp said on Wednesday that it will now enable users to pay directly within the app using any service that runs on India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a real-time money transfer system that connects over 200 banks and digital payment platforms. Users will also be able to pay using their credit or debit cards, without leaving the app.
WhatsApp said that the new payment options will be available to any business in India that uses its business platform, which mainly serves large companies. The company said that it will also expand its Meta Verified subscription program to businesses globally, giving them a way to validate their authenticity and increase their visibility on users’ feeds.
The announcement comes as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has outlined his vision for business messaging to become the “next major pillar” of the company’s revenue growth, along with its core advertising business and its ambitious metaverse project. WhatsApp, which has over 2 billion users worldwide, is a key part of this strategy, as it aims to become a one-stop shop for communication, commerce, and entertainment.
WhatsApp’s expansion of its payment options in India could also help it compete with other players in the country’s fast-growing digital payments market, such as Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm, and Amazon Pay. According to a report by RedSeer Consulting, India’s UPI transactions reached 3.55 billion in August 2021, with a total value of over $100 billion.
WhatsApp said that it will roll out the new payment features in India in the coming weeks, and that it will continue to work with the regulators and partners to ensure compliance and security. The company also said that it will respect the privacy and data protection of its users, and that it will not share their payment information with Meta or third parties.