A full-fledged launch of WhatsApp Pay is expected to drive a fresh surge in UPI usage.
WhatsApp Pay will soon be launched in India, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told investors over a post-results conference call on Wednesday.
The internet giant has been running a test version of Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based payments on its messaging app with one million users in India since February 2018.
“We have our test going in India. It’s the test (that) really shows that a lot of people are going to want to use this product,” Zuckerberg said, adding, “We’re very optimistic that we’re going to be able to launch to everyone in India soon, but of course we’ll share more news when we have that.”
The number of daily active users on Facebook reached 1.62 billion, up 9% compared to last year, led by growth in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The launch of WhatsApp’s payments service in India has so far been held back by its non-compliance with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations on data localisation. RBI had on April 5, 2018, put out a circular stating that all payment system operators in the country must move to a system of storing transaction data within India over a six-month period from the date of the circular.
Earlier this year, RBI informed the Supreme Court (SC) that it had not given its approval to WhatsApp to launch a payments service because of the platform’s failure to comply with the above norms on data localisation. Thereafter, in August 2019 the SC directed RBI to file an affidavit on the same subject.
A full-fledged launch of WhatsApp Pay is expected to drive a fresh surge in UPI usage. In October this year, the volume of UPI transactions in a single month crossed 1 billion (Rs 100 crore). In February 2018, investment bank Credit Suisse had said in a report that the entry of WhatsApp into the UPI ecosystem could lead to some shake-up. “WhatsApp, with 230 million daily average users, is by far the most popular app in India and as it soon plans to integrate a payments button, digital payments are set to explode and we estimate a $1-trillion market over the next five years,” it said.