The long-awaited digital payments service of WhatsApp goes live in India

For a reasonable period of time, WhatsApp has been working on digital, peer-to-peer payments and the company owned by Facebook, seems to have launched the service in beta mode in India, which happens to be one of its most welcoming markets. According to the reports reaching us from our sources, a few users in India have detected the availability of the feature in the WhatsApp versions of both iOS and Android and yet many are celebrating the launch on Twitter. WhatsApp confirmed that it was working on a payments service particularly for India after local media reported on the forthcoming feature in April 2017. However, it appears to have taken almost a year just for it to arrive in beta form.

As a result of a lot factors in play, WhatsApp is massively popular in India more than Facebook is. The reason being that, high-speed internet is not far-flung so therefore simple texts and other standard features built into WhatsApp such as sharing of photos and locations are more efficient on mobile in contrast to more data-heavy software like the main Facebook app. That has led to an Indian WhatsApp user base of more than 200 million daily active users, with the whole of India exceeding the US for the first time last year in total time spent on using mobile apps on a monthly basis.

For Indian users, it is useful to have a means of transferring money digitally among local merchants as well as for friends and family to transfer funds amongst each other. From the reports reaching us, WhatsApp has signed up a number of Indian banks to help boost its payment service. It has also makes use of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) framework of the Indian Government which permits instant transfer between banks that are participants. There remains an uncertainty regarding the period when the full payments service will launch in India, or if it will get to Europe or North America in the nearest future. WhatsApp was not available for comment.

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