It was two years in the making, but WhatsApp Payments is finally available in India.
The payment feature of the Facebook-owned social messaging platform WhatsApp recently made its debut on the Indian shores, with support from banks like the State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank.
Online gaming payments not allowed—yet
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) gave WhatsApp the approval in November 2020—two years after the company proposed the idea of launching a payments system for the India market—to go live on the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). This is India’s landmark real-time payment system, with more than 160 supported banks.
With the NPCI approval, WhatsApp rolled out the Payments feature in December 2020, finally giving its users in India the capability to transfer and receive money digitally. Digital payments are essential in these times, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, as more people are going the digital route to work, learn, shop on e-commerce sites, and even enjoy their casual games like teen patti online. Unfortunately, WhatsApp Payments is not yet available in Indian online casinos—but it’s only a matter of time, especially for a digital-forward country like India, before online gaming payments are also allowed.
At the recent Fuel for India 2020 virtual conference, Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said the WhatsApp Payments feature is “secure and reliable” to help make “it easy for anyone to instantly accept payments across different apps—and for companies to provide people with great services.”
“Indians can communicate with one another for less than the cost of a postcard and that’s what we’ve tried to do with messaging and hopefully we can do that together with payments and make it so people can use India’s new UPI system, which I think is great. India is the first country to do anything like this,” Zuckerberg noted.
How to transfer money via WhatsApp Payments
Using the Payments feature is easy. First, open WhatsApp on your mobile device, then choose the person you would like to send money to from your contact list. Press the attachment button in the chat, and click the Accept and Continue option. Select the name of the bank from the list—make sure to use the number you have registered with your bank—then tap verify via SMS.
You will receive a verification code via SMS, and the account linked with your number will be displayed. Enter the amount you would like to send, and then the UPI PIN to verify your payment. Once the payment is processed, you will be directed to your WhatsApp chat where you can see the amount you sent in the message box.
In a blog post, the WhatsApp team explained how the new Payments feature “is designed with a strong set of security and privacy principles, including entering a personal UPI PIN for each payment.”
“In the long run, we believe the combination of WhatsApp and UPI’s unique architecture can help local organizations address some of the key challenges of our time, including increasing rural participation in the digital economy and delivering financial services to those who have never had access before,” according to the WhatsApp post.