WhatsApp is gearing up to introduce WhatsApp Pay UPI payments service to all users across India later this year. WhatsApp Global Head Will Cathcart said Facebook-owned instant messenger could roll out its full-fledged payments service in India later this year.
However, Cathcart did not reveal any approximate launch timeline. Last year, WhatsApp announced its Payment feature in India and currently, WhatsApp has been testing WhatsApp Payments feature with about one million users across the country.
Despite launching a test run of WhatsApp Payments a year ago, WhatsApp could not get approval from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on grounds of digital payments framework guidelines. But apparently, WhatsApp Pay is now in the final stage. Commenting on the development, WhatsApp's Global head Will Cathcart had this to say:
"We believe that if we get this right, it will accelerate financial inclusion and bring value for people in India's fast-growing digital economy, We can't wait to provide the service more of our users all across India later this year."
The unified payments interface (UPI) is the backbone of WhatsApp Pay and once it goes live for all WhatsApp users across the country, WhatsApp would compete against the likes of Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm and other UPI-enabled payment platforms.
WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users globally whereas in India, about 400 million users use WhatsApp as a platform to communicate with their friends, colleagues and family members.
In the past, WhatsApp Payments has been subject to concerns around its authentication as well as data storage practices. Last year, however, WhatsApp had said it has developed a system to store payments-related data in India as part of compliance with Reserve Bank of India's data localisation policies.
In May, WhatsApp told Supreme Court of India that trial run of WhatsApp Payments feature is likely to b completed by July. WhatsApp had promised that it will no launch WhatsApp's UPI payments service in India without full compliance with Reserve Bank of India's policies.
RBI, last month, had clarified that all data related to payments, including those processed abroad, must be stored only in India. Also, in case the payment processing is done abroad, the data should be deleted from the systems there and brought back to India within 24 hours, it had stated.
(With agency inputs)