WhatsApp Pay India launch: Global head gives a timeline for the roll-out
WhatsApp’s UPI-based payments service will be launched in India sometime later this year. WhatsApp Pay has been available in India in beta mode since last year.
WhatsApp's long-awaited payment service, WhatsApp Pay, will be available to all Indian users later this year. The UPI-based peer-to-peer service was first announced in February last year but has remained in a beta phase with limited availability since then.
Addressing an event in New Delhi, WhatsApp Global Head Will Cathcart said, "To boost digital inclusion in India, we can launch the (Pay) service across the country later this year after meeting regulations."
The official rollout of WhatsApp's payment service was stalled after the company failed to meet the local digital payments framework guidelines. WhatsApp, however, was allowed to run trials of the service with a limited number of users in India. In June last year, WhatsApp revealed that a million users in India were "testing" the payment service.
WhatsApp told the Supreme Court that it would comply with the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) norms on data localisation before launching the full payments service.
Speaking at the event, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said Facebook-owned WhatsApp was delayed in meeting India's regulatory norms to launch its digital payments service.
"We look forward to WhatsApp Pay in India once it fulfills all the regulatory requirements," Kant added.
Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was "actively working to launch WhatsApp Pay" in India.
"We have a test that is running in India for WhatsApp now, we're hoping to launch in several other countries at some point, but I don't want to put a timeframe on that here, but it's something that we're actively working on," he had said.
WhatsApp vs Paytm
WhatsApp's payment service is expected to compete with Paytm, one of the biggest digital payments company in India. WhatsApp, however, has the advantage of a massive user base in India, estimated to be over 300 million. With the addition of peer-to-peer (P2P) UPI-based Pay service, the userbase along could help the company surpass Paytm which last reported over 230 million users.
"Digital wallet payment solutions are becoming more relevant for the Indian economy driven by mobile-centric Internet penetration. WhatsApp has the potential to leverage its existing user base and become the leading payments services" noted Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.
(With inputs from IANS)