Excited to see WhatsApp approved for launching payments in India, Zuckerberg says

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was thrilled that WhatsApp had received approval to launch its payment service in India. Facebook’s own messaging service will soon roll out its payment service in the country, starting with two Crore users, the country’s flagship payment processor announced on Thursday, giving WhatsApp access to a crowded digital payment room. WhatsApp, with over 40 Crore users in India’s largest market, will compete with Google Pay from Alphabet, Softbank and Alibaba-supported Paytm, and PhonePe from Walmart.

“I am excited today that WhatsApp has been approved to start payments across India. Now you can send money to your friends and family using WhatsApp as easily as sending a message. There is no fee and it is supported by more than 140 banks. And because it’s WhatsApp, it’s safe and private too. “Zuckerberg said in a video statement. “We worked on this with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) who oversee everything to make sure it’s safe and reliable. And we created it using the Indian Unified Payments interface, which makes it easy for anyone to instantly accept payments across different apps – and enables businesses to provide great services to people. “

The Menlo Park, Calif., Company had long sought to comply with Indian regulations, including data retention standards that require all payment-related data to be stored locally.

Announcement of the new service in a blog entryWhatsApp said that users must have a bank account and debit card in India to use the feature. The messaging service has partnered with Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Jio Payments Bank and State Bank of India to enable the new feature. The payment system enables transactions with over 160 supported banks.

“WhatsApp can gradually expand its UPI (Unified Payments Interface) user base, starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million,” said a statement from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Founded in 2008, NPCI is a not-for-profit company that has shareholders in over 50 banks, including the State Bank of India, Citibank and HSBC.

Online transactions, lending and e-wallet services have grown rapidly in India, led by a government push to get the country’s cash-loving merchants and consumers to adopt digital payments.

According to data on the NPCI website, UPI processed over 180 crore transactions in September, up from over 160 crore in the previous month.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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