Making rapid strides in the Indian digital payment space, WhatsApp has won regulatory approval to double the number of users of its payments service in India to 100 million. Now Meta-owned WhatsApp looks to accelerate the adoption of a unified payments interface (UPI) for the next 500 million Indians. “Our user interface is simple, reliable, and secure. It will accelerate the adoption of a unified payments interface (UPI) for the next 500 million Indians,”
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has allowed WhatsApp to add sixty million users to its payments service, taking the total number of consumers it can offer the unified payment interface or UPI-based feature to 100 million. WhatsApp has over the years told NPCI that there should be no cap on users of its payments service in India, its biggest market.
The NPCI cleared WhatsApp entry into the digital payment space in November 2020, allowing 20 million users to start. The number was later increased to 40 million last year. Now after the cap was extended to 40 million users, Manesh Mahatme, director-payments for WhatsApp India, said his company would work with the NPCI to expand its users.
Although WhatsApp has not been able to create a place for itself in the already crowded third-party app providers (TPAPs) space. The company processed just 2.54 million transactions in March, amounting to Rs 239.78 crore. The total transactions in the UPI space recorded in March stood at 5.4 billion amounting to Rs 9.6 lakh crore.
“We believe there is an opportunity for UPI to have an even greater impact for the country — especially in rural regions where digital and financial inclusion can significantly improve people's lives,” Mahatme said adding that “the ‘payments on WhatsApp' can be a key partner to NPCI and the RBI as we all aim to scale adoption of UPI and financial inclusion to those most in need.”
The NPCI has been giving approval to WhatsApp in a phased manner so that the competition in the digital payment space in the country is not stifled. “Since our initial approval from the NPCI, we have been working to deliver a simple, reliable, and secure experience for WhatsApp users that we hope will accelerate the adoption of UPI for the next five hundred million Indians,” Mahatme said.
As part of this roadmap, he said that the company has planned significant investments in ‘payments on WhatsApp' across India “including ‘India-first' features and focus on creating awareness and driving adoption among our users.”
As the adoption of ‘payments on WhatsApp' increases with users across the country, the company looks forward to working with the NPCI to further expand it to all users. WhatsApp kicked off its ambitious peer-to-peer (P2P) digital payments pilot project in India in 2018 with nearly 10 lakh users.