After two years of waiting, the WhatsApp payment service has received approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to go live on Unified Payment Interface (UPI) with over 160 supported banks.
WhatsApp can expand its UPI user base in a graded manner starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million in UPI, NPCI said.
Over 400 million WhatsApp users in India can soon securely send money to friends and family, and the payments feature is now available for iPhone and Android users who are on the latest version of the app.
“I am excited today that WhatsApp has been approved to launch payments across India. We’ve been working on this with the National Payments Corporation of India, who oversee everything to make sure it’s secure and reliable,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement on Friday.
“And we’ve built it using India’s Unified Payments Interface, which makes it easy for anyone to instantly accept payments across different apps — and for companies to provide people with great services”.
Payments is available now in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp.
“All you need is a debit card with a bank that supports UPI and you can set it up straight away. You can find it in the latest version of WhatsApp,” Zuckerberg said.
WhatsApp began testing payments feature way back in 2018 in India but could not launch the feature owing to regulatory roadblocks and data compliance issues.
“We’re delighted to be working with five leading banks in India: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank. People can send money on WhatsApp to anyone using a UPI supported app,” the company informed.
WhatsApp said the payments feature is designed with a strong set of security and privacy principles, including entering a personal UPI PIN for each payment.
The move comes after NPCI in August had informed the Reserve Bank of India that WhatsApp had met data localization requirements.
Brazil became the first country to roll out the WhatsApp payment service in June.
In India, the WhatsApp payment service will compete against other major players like Paytm, Google Pay and PhonePe, among others.