Having 200 million monthly users in India, WhatsApp is considered India’s favourite chatting app. It is believed to lead head-to-head with Google Pay and Paytm in a bid and has become the favourite app in digital payment. After months of anticipation, this payment feature was rolled out by WhatsApp for both IOS and Android. In 2020, July’17 the UPI integration got approved and since then the corporate giant had been working upon it. Taking advantage of UPI (Unified Payments Interface), the payment feature supports ample banks, such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, State Bank of India and Axis Bank. Transaction across 30 banks in the country can be done by a system made by UPI and Indian users can transact just with the help of a smartphone. The messaging app company in the previous year tried to partner with a private bank to develop a digital wallet app that would facilitate payments on such a platform, but it could not proceed further due to RBI guidelines for digital wallets (prepaid payments instruments). The Facebook-owned messaging app could not thereby enter India’s payment market.
In 2019, the government was seen promoting actively the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) to push the digital economy in India. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), laid down guidelines that every participating organization has to stick with the defined UPI guidelines and have to aim in making the platform practical. An umbrella body for all digital payments in India, the NPCI is the one that manages the UPI. Real-time bank-to-bank transactions are allowed in UPI that puts fewer entry barriers and foreign entity to rush in. Taking advantage of UPI, the payment feature supports ample banks that include ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, State Bank of India and Axis Bank. Transaction across 30 banks in the country can be done by a system made by UPI and Indian users can transact just with the help of a smartphone. Then was the time the WhatsApp messaging app, was seen jumping on the bandwagon. A decent experience for payments, after bringing payment via Messenger platform Facebook, wanted to get the same digital wallet in India too.
Steps to enable the payment service in WhatsApp
- Firstly, the WhatsApp number and the mobile number linked to the user bank account should be the same along with UPI support.
- The Payment Option can be seen in the settings of WhatsApp where the user can enable payment services.
- Select the option ‘add a bank account’ and also accept its terms and conditions. After that, verification will be made for the user’s mobile number.
- The list of banks will appear once the user’s number gets verified. The user can choose the bank in which they have an account and they shall also ensure that such bank account is linked to UPI already. If the users do not have a UPI account, WhatsApp also offers its users to create a UPI account with a pin. Within 10 minutes the users can create the UPI account by just following simple instructions.
- Add card details, after that one can easily use the WhatsApp Payment system.
- To check for some actual transactions, one should visit personal or group chat and choose the person to transfer the amount. In the ‘Attachment’ option, an option to send money would be available to the users where they can enter the amount to transfer, the UPI pin or the OTP send to the registered mobile to complete the transaction.
A big step made by Facebook-owned WhatsApp on UPI has plenty of challenges. Google Pay developed by Google for payments in India is different from the payment incorporated in its chat application by WhatsApp. One of the busiest apps in the world, it was a challenge to bring such large modifications. It is due to WhatsApp’s large user base which led NPCI to not allow the company’s payments feature at a full-scale launch. To adjust to the sudden spike in volumes, it preferred a phased rollout thereby giving time to both the bank platforms and the app. it is a belief by the industry insiders that the beta rollout can ensure not a single transaction declined by banks. This would gradually strengthen the processing. Hence, it is believed that the WhatsApp Payment system will make everyday lives a bit easier.