Technology for MSMEs: Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp, which reportedly has over 400 million users in India, on Thursday announced that the camera icon in its chat composer will now let users scan any QR code to make payments to millions of stores in India that accept QR code-based payments, according to a company announcement at its Global Fintech Festival. As per WhatsApp, over 20 million stores, which are typically micro and small enterprises, can accept payments via QR code in the country. WhatsApp also introduced the ₹ symbol for users to use while transacting. Even as its rollout has started, the symbol would be available to users across India only in the coming weeks. The company also operates WhatsApp Business app for small businesses in India and has 15 million enterprises using the service.
“We believe true inclusion is when customers don’t have to navigate their way through their phone to make a payment. An arrival point is when payments just “fits” into a customer’s intrinsic behaviour. Hundreds of millions of customers send WhatsApp messages every day. Spend many minutes on WhatsApp. Take a picture and send pictures. We want to make sending money as easy and simplified as sending a message,” said Manesh Mahatme – Director Payments, WhatsApp India in a statement.
To ease payments for small businesses, the company had last November added a new Shopping Button for customers to discover business catalog and purchase goods from within the app. Moreover, in December, WhatsApp had also announced the launch of a Carts feature to improve its chat-based buying and selling feature between small businesses and their customers. Small businesses can already accept payments in WhatsApp Business App using their UPI handle.
“Any small business owner who uses WhatsApp Business can just type in their UPI address in chat to accept payments from users…The best part about it is that it is fully democratised. You can be registered with any app for UPI. You just need to share your UPI address with customers and get paid to that address into that bank account regardless of which UPI handle you have or where you have signed up to accept payments,” Mahatme said in his address at the event. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in December last year at the Facebook Fuel for India 2020 event had said that the WhatsApp Business app has over 50 million users globally of which around 15 million are in India.