After years of beta testing and a much needed approval from the Indian government, WhatsApp finally went live with its Payments feature for 20 million Unified Payments Interface (UPI) users, in partnership with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank & Axis Bank. This will mark Facebook-owned WhatsApp's entry in growing digital payments market in India, where it will compete with Google Pay, Paytm, Walmart-owned PhonePe and Amazon Pay.
"We're excited and privileged to partner with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and AXIS Bank to bring simple and secure digital payments to WhatsApp users across India. UPI is a transformative service and we jointly have the opportunity to bring the benefits of our digital economy and financial inclusion to a large number of users who have not had full access to them before," Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp, India, was quoted as saying in a press release by the company.
After being allowed to beta-test this feature in India since 2018, the Reserve Bank of India told the Supreme Court last year that WhatsApp Payments was not compliant with the data localisation norms of the country, and directed the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) to not allow the platform to do a full-scale launch on UPI. Last April, WhatsApp played ball and announced its intention of complying with all the rules set by RBI, days after carrying out one of its biggest investments of $5.7 billion to buy a 10% stake in Indian telecom and digital service giant Jio.
Last month, Facebook received the approval to go live with WhatsApp Payments on a peer to peer (P2P) basis, starting from a user base of 20 million users, and gradually building up from it. After registering their WhatsApp with their bank account through UPI, the company claims that users can now send money as easily as sending a message.
In its press release, the company also clarified that this new feature is 'in line with the Government of India's vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society'. "The combination of WhatsApp and UPI's unique architecture aims to address some of the key challenges of today's time, including increasing rural participation in the digital economy and delivering banking and financial services to those who have been bereft of access, so far," it read.
So How Do I Send Money Through WhatsApp?
If you are one of the 20 million users to have this facility, then you can already get started. To send money on WhatsApp, you have to register your bank account with the app through UPI - similar to how it is done with Google Pay or PhonePe.
For the uninitiated, this is what you need to do, to register your bank account with WhatsApp.
1. Open up WhatsApp and click on the top right corner (the three vertical dots).
2. In the drop down menu, click on Payments.
3. Click on ' Add payment method'
4. You will then be redirected to choose the name of your bank that is registered to your WhatsApp number
5. Once you select the name of your bank, WhatsApp will link your bank account by verifying your phone number using the one time password (OTP) method.
6. Once your bank account is linked, you can go back to step one, and go to 'Payments'.
7. You will now see the bank account linked to your WhatsApp, and can now click on the option 'New Payment'.
8. You will now be able to send a UPI transaction by adding UPI id, scanning a QR code or by choosing a WhatsApp contact from your contact list (provided this person also has WhatsApp Payments registered with their bank account). Transactions will be authenticated using the UPI pin.
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