WhatsApp Payments feature is now available to up to 20 million users in India for enabling UPI payments. The Facebook owned WhatsApp platform confirms that WhatsApp Payments are now Live with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank, and will enable the National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system for users to make payments, money transfers and more. The announcement comes as part of the ongoing Facebook Fuel for India summit, the first edition of the India focused summit by the tech giant. The WhatsApp Payments update comes at a time when the government of India is making a continuous push for enabling digital transactions in the country, as part of the larger Digital India initiative.
It was in November that WhatsApp Payments was given the approval to enable payments for users in India within the WhatsApp app. “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,” says Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp, India, in an official statement.
At this time, the State Bank of India has more than 120 million UPI users in the country, which totals up to about 28% share in the UPI system. The UPI, or unified payments interface, transactions have been consistently growing month on month. The latest data by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) indicates that UPI transactions for November 2020 clocked in at 2.21 billion, which is 6.7% more than the 2.07 billion in October. In September, the UPI transactions clocked in with 1.8 billion. Credit card transactions have also seen a spike in the past few months, as the coronavirus pandemic has fast-tracked the transition to digital payments. WhatsApp Payments will be competing with payment platforms including Paytm, PhonePe, Amazon Pay and Google Pay, to name a few.