Payments Innovation

WhatsApp Payments Rollout Delayed In India

WhatsApp

Due to possible concerns over the storage of user data and other issues, the Indian government is delaying Facebook’s planned nationwide launch of the WhatsApp payment service in the country. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has reportedly asked WhatsApp, along with partner banks, to provide additional details about the system, Bloomberg reported.

“We are working closely with the Indian government, NPCI [National Payments Corporation of India] and multiple banks, including our payment service providers, to expand the feature to more people,” WhatsApp Spokesperson Anne Yeh told Bloomberg. The delay comes as the central bank of India has recently made payment services use local servers for customer data.

During the past several months, WhatsApp has launched a payments feature in India that now has around one million users. According to a report in Quartz, WhatsApp is in the process of fixing any issues with the payment feature and adding more functionality during beta testing of the service, which kicked off in February. The payment service is based on the Unified Payments Interface of the NPCI. By using that, WhatsApp eliminates the step of requiring a customer to load up a digital wallet. With its service, users can make payments directly from their bank accounts via a virtual ID, noted the report.

The move to launch a payment app in India makes sense, given that Credit Suisse predicts it will be a $1 trillion market by 2023, reported Quartz. WhatsApp has been slow in launching its payment app in the country because it first needed the nod from the government. But in April, WhatsApp also placed an ad for a head of India, which the report noted was an additional sign that WhatsApp wanted to expand in the country — including into the payments market.

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