It seems like Facebook is getting more into the payment space as it’s now expanding out to offering a service via WhatsApp that will allow users send payments to one another in India using the app. This would be great news for customers as it creates another form of peer-to-peer payments and a huge potential for Facebook via WhatsApp. Currently around 200 million users are on WhatApp in India and the service is the most popular messaging product in India.
It’ll be difficult for WhatsApp to really break into the top position as the India’s top mobile payment service as there’s already dozens of competitors. Paytm one of the largest with 280 million users and Indian government’s BHIM app are the main players. There’s also Google, which has a service called Tez with 12 million users. To break into this space, Facebook will really have to push the product in WhatsApp and get users excited about using this payment service over others.\
Based on a report from FactorDaily, it seems like WhatsApp will be testing this new payment feature with 1% of its users in India someone time in the Q1 of 2018. It’s been said that the peer-to-peer payment device for WhatsApp will be using India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
This will allow for money to switch hands from one person to the other directly from bank accounts without any fees from UPI. But it’s important to note that India’s banking system will be auditing the system as the country has really been cracking down on money laundering and people attempting to pay taxes.
Facebook has originally been working with the State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank based on reports. It should also be noted that Facebook will also need to build a customer service team for the new WhatsApp payment service.
As mentioned above, the Indian government is really attempting to put a stop at money laundering and tax avoidance, but with full encryption features on WhatsApp, the Indian banking regulators may have some issues with this process.
WhatsApp has already released an app that is focused on small business as a payment processor in the United States, UK and some other countries around the world. In addition, there’s WhatsApp Business that is now available on Android and expected to come to iOS sometime soon. Facebook’s WhatsApp might be able to get some leverage if the company is able to use their success of merchant processing into India to create a competitive advantage.