The WhatsApp Payments launch we’ve all been waiting for may finally happen next week. The initiative has been in testing for months in India.
People familiar with the matter told Livemint that the UPI-based WhatsApp Payments will roll out to all Indian users in the first week of June. The company is apparently rushing the service’s debut in order to steal away market share from the likes of Google Tez and Paytm.
Hurrying up the WhatsApp Payments launch is reportedly coming at the cost of losing out on one of its partners. HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, and ICICI Bank are all said to be ready to process transfers. The only bank missing out is State Bank of India (SBI) as it supposedly doesn’t have the necessary systems in place.
Sources say that Facebook had plans for a full rollout with all 4 partners initially. However, it’s decided against this strategy since its rivals are racing ahead. WhatsApp has an in-built advantage though since it already has over 200 million users in India. It’s the most popular messaging app in the country and is already used for conducting business.
The report claims that WhatsApp Payments managed to rack up 1 million patrons in February. It’s gotten positive reviews so far. Neither Google Tez nor Paytm have a social network to tie people together, although the latter does have a messaging system.
WhatsApp’s venture into peer-to-peer transactions is being compared to WeChat. The Chinese app started out as a messaging tool and then broke into the payments sector with great success. It permanently reshaped the market in the nation.
Experts say WhatsApp could do something similar in India. It already has its Business app ready to go, so small and big players can get on board quickly. The convenience factor is also important since people will be able to send money to their friends the same way they’d send any other attachment.