Home / Tech / News / WhatsApp introduces UPI-based payment feature in India: Here’s how it works

WhatsApp introduces UPI-based payment feature in India: Here’s how it works

WhatsApp’s payment feature is available to select users on Android and iOS.

WhatsApp now allows users to send and receive money in India WhatsApp now allows users to send and receive money in India
WhatsApp now allows users to send and receive money in India (AFP)

WhatsApp has started rolling out its payment service to select users in India. The Facebook-owned firm had confirm working on this feature early last year.

WhatsApp uses the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) for its payment service on the messaging app. This payments method enables one to send and money receive through their UPI-linked bank accounts. It ensures a fast and swift transfer of money without having to store balance in a wallet.

WhatsApp's UPI payment service hasn't officially been rolled out to users. Only select users have been discovering the feature on their iOS and Android devices. If you haven't received the feature, there's a workaround to get it. You will first need to ensure that your bank account is UPI-enabled and you have a friend who has the feature available on their device.

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The process of getting the payment feature is very similar to WhatsApp's voice calling feature, which debuted approximately three years ago. So, if one of your friends who already has received the UPI update on their WhatsApp, you can ask them to invite you to seed the feature.

Note that the feature is only available to the mobile version of the application and not on WhatsApp Web. Also, the payment interface supports UPI services from all major banks including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Yes Bank, and Airtel Payments Bank.

Here's the step-by-step guide on what you have to do to enable WhatsApp UPI feature on your phone:

1. Users who already have the feature need to go to their friend's profile on WhatsApp.

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2. Once there, they simply need to tap the attachment (paper clip-shaped) button.

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3. This will prompt them to see the payment option. They need to tap the payment option.

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4. This will give them an error, saying that their friend doesn't have WhatsApp UPI feature just yet. But in reality, they have just enabled the WhatsApp UPI feature for their friend.

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5. Now, you can go to the settings section within the app where you will see the payment option yourself.

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6. You can now invite your friends in a similar fashion.

Note that WhatsApp hasn't officially rolled out the feature for everyone yet. But considering that it has already made its way to the recent beta versions for both iOS and Android, the feature is most likely to be announced very soon.

Analysts say WhatsApp enabling UPI feature could be the biggest boost to the digital payment landscape in India. Ahead of WhatsApp's payment service, the popular digital wallet platform Paytm introduced a messaging service on its platform. Called Paytm Inbox, the messaging service is similar to WhatsApp's and also lets users send and receive money.

Apart from Paytm, Hike and Truecaller have also introduced peer-to-peer money sharing feature on their platforms. Google late last year joined the mobile commerce segment with Google Tez, which also lets you make and request payments vis-a-vis friends. Google in December last year revealed the platform had gone past 140 million transactions, and has over 12 million monthly active users.

WhatsApp, however, has an upper hand over the competition considering the massive user base in the country. The platform has more than 200 million users in India, one of its biggest markets in the world.

The peer-to-peer payment service comes shortly after WhatsApp launched a dedicated application for business users in the country. Called WhatsApp Business, the application makes it easier for businesses to connect with customers and vice versa.

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