You should soon be able to send your friends money using WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned company expects to roll out support for UPI (Unified Payment Interface) to its messaging app WhatsApp by the end of the year, a person familiar with the matter said.
WhatsApp is in advanced talks with banks and lobby organisation NPCI to add support for UPI-based payments on its app, the person said requesting anonymity.
Because of several moving pieces that are involved in the talks and implementation, the rollout of UPI payments on WhatsApp could see a slight delay, the person said, but added that so far the things are chugging along smoothly.
Several popular messaging services including WeChat and Hike Messenger already support payment services. However, WhatsApp, which is the most popular messaging app in India with over 200 million active users, has been known to take its time and include features only when they are polished. WhatsApp has over 1.2 billion active users worldwide.
Since demonetisation last year, mobile payments apps such as Paytm and MobiKwik have seen an astronomical growth in number of transactions and user base. However, none of them have as many active users as WhatsApp does.
The arrival of WhatsApp is much anticipated among users and industry watchdogs. "Banks missed out on cashing in on demonetisation. Their mobile payment apps were nowhere as popular," an analyst who didn't want to be identified told Gadgets 360.
"Banks and their lobby group NPCI are now trying to fill that void with UPI," he added. "If UPI wins, they win." The UPI-enabled BHIM app, which was launched late last year, has already started to gain ground in the nation. BHIM app has already been downloaded more than 17 million times.
Getting backing of an omnipresent player such as WhatsApp could change the dynamics of the mobile payments market in the country.