Meta-owned WhatsApp has announced that it will offer credit card payments and services from rival digital payment providers within its app in India in an attempt to strengthen its commerce offerings in the country.
While WhatsApp has more than 500 million users in India, the country’s regulators have capped its integrated WhatsApp Pay service to only 100 million users. With the new updates, WhatsApp will run any rival services using India’s instant money transfer system UPI (United Payments Interface) in the country.
WhatsApp will now use external payment services such as Alphabet’s Google Pay, Paytm and Walmart’s PhonePe and the new options will also integrate credit and debit cards for payments.
“We’re making it easier to complete a purchase directly in a WhatsApp chat using UPI apps, debit and credit cards, and more,” Meta said in a blog Tuesday. “People in India can add items to their cart and send a payment using the method of their choice from all supported UPI apps, debit and credit cards, and more,” the company added, noting that it has partnered with Razorpay and PayU to make the payments simple.
Addressing a virtual event at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai, the financial capital of India, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it is going to make it easier for people to pay Indian businesses through a WhatsApp chat using whatever method they prefer.
Meta’s VP for India Sandhya Devanathan noted that the company aims to upskill 10 million traders across the country in more than 10 Indian languages over the next three years. Devanathan further revealed that 80% of Indian consumers preferred using messaging to communicate with businesses.
“With thousands of WhatsApp messages being to customers for different business services, including booking tickets and buying e-commerce products, and in different language, the new feat will expand WhatsApp’s penetration across Indian business spectrum. We have been relying on WhatsApp to connect with our new and existing customers for any purchase. The new payments service will certainly help us boost our business and reach more customers across the country,” Aditya Joshi, a New Delhi-based small business owner, told International Business Times.
So far, WhatsApp has limited its end-to-end shopping experiences in the country to pilot programs such as those in collaboration with online grocery service JioMart, managed by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and in metropolitan cities like Bengaluru and Chennai.
India recorded 10.5 billion UPI transactions in August, a significant rise from 9.9 billion in July 2023. More than 300 million people spend billions through UPI every month in the country. In FY 2023, the value of merchant payments reached $380 billion. Considering the numbers, the new transaction features would allow Meta-owned WhatsApp to lure more businesses and reach new customers.
WhatsApp’s payment solution was previously launched in Singapore and Brazil.
In addition, Meta is expanding its Meta Verified subscription program to businesses across the world. Businesses can opt for one subscription on a single app or bundle them across Instagram and Facebook, and, in the future, WhatsApp.
This comes days after WhatsApp launched Channels in more than 150 countries to develop groups of “organizations, sports teams, artists, and thought leaders that people can follow” within the instant messaging app.