After Facebook-Jio deal, WhatsApp looking to pursue digital money lending in India; details inside

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Published: April 29, 2020 1:54 PM

Parent company Facebook only recently invested $5.9 billion in Reliance Jio and as part of the partnership, JioMart has started selling groceries through WhatsApp.

whatsappWhatsApp is barred by law from doing banking business. (Photo credit: Reuters)

WhatsApp is apparently looking to pursue digital money lending in India. The Facebook-owned instant messaging company has listed to offer “advance money or give credit on such terms as may seem expedient, and with or without security, to customers and others,” as one of the areas that it is looking to explore, in a Ministry of Corporate Affairs filing earlier this month.

More granular details such as the nature of the loans, are scarce as of this moment, though just because WhatsApp may be looking to enter India’s burgeoning lending market, doesn’t mean it would happen anytime soon. WhatsApp has been testing its UPI-based payments service in India since 2018, at least, and it is still awaiting regulatory approval from authorities for a full-fledged commercial launch here. WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India, but, only 1 million of them are estimated to have access to its peer-to-peer transaction service.

Be that as it may, since WhatsApp is barred by law from doing banking business, it will have to partner with existing banks to provide loans in India.

There’s little doubt that WhatsApp wants to expand in India, its biggest market in the world in terms of user base. And there’s little doubt that it wants to explore ways how it can monetize here. It has been trying to do that through WhatsApp Business for sometime now, though it is yet to roll out ads on the platform — something that it has been working on — that would help it make more money out of the service.

Parent company Facebook only recently invested $5.9 billion in Reliance Jio and as part of the partnership, JioMart has started selling groceries through WhatsApp. Though the scope and reach of this partnership is “limited” to a couple of areas in Mumbai for now, hopefully, it will expand soon. Jio has been looking to enter India’s digital lending platform as well, according to multiple reports, so it will be interesting to see how all of this ties up with WhatsApp’s pursuit.

There’s been a growing influx of digital money lending services in India off late. Not just established players, even smartphone brands like Xiaomi and Realme have joined the bandwagon with Mi Credit and Realme Paysa respectively.

Also Read WhatsApp group video, voice calls now support up to 8 participants on Android and iOS: All your questions answered

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