Amid demonetization in India late last year, mobile wallet apps such as Paytm and MobiKwik emerged as the big winners, reporting astronomical growth. But the biggest challenger yet is about to join the race.
WhatsApp is India’s most popular instant messaging app, and they’re introducing person-to-person payment solutions in the country, according to a report on The Ken. With more than 200 million users in India, WhatsApp has a lot to gain by addressing the needs of its base in the country.
The company is said to be in talks with the Indian government to enable support for the federally regulated Unified Payments Interface (UPI), to enable quick money transfers between users’ accounts across a large clutch of participating banks.
UPI is open to third-party services, making payments is as fast and easy as sending a text message.
In a statement, WhatsApp spokesperson didn’t deny the claims and said, “India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India.”
“We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users.”
The news comes weeks after Brian Acton, a founder of WhatsApp, visited India and met Indian government officials to explore ways to contribute to “India’s vision for digital commerce.” Acton also said that over 200 million users in India now use WhatsApp.
A consortium of major banks in India, the NPCI has been working aggressively to chalk out its own payment solutions to “crush” the mobile wallet systems such as Paytm, according to industry sources.
Meanwhile, India’s Prime Minister launched BHIM app, which works on top of UPI, in December last year. He claimed that BHIM app is destined to change the way Indians pay for things. However despite occasional free advertising from him, BHIM app is far from growing mainstream.