WhatsApp to launch digital payments service

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April 5, 2017
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WhatsApp is planning to launch digital payments service in India, its largest market with over 200 million users.

Facebook-owned instant messaging platform is working to launch person-to-person payments in India in the next six months, news website The Ken reported earlier on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

A job posting on WhatsApp’s website has invited applications for the role of “Digital Transactions Lead, India”, which it describes as helping users of a forthcoming digital payments service, collaborating with banks and developing “global support” for the new offering. A WhatsApp spokesperson said,

“India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India. We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users.”

In February, WhatsApp’s co-founder, Brian Acton, told local media that they were in talks with the Indian government for launching digital payments in India. The job description for WhatsApp’s digital transaction lead says the person should be familiar with India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which lets money be digitally transferred between bank accounts and other services.

WhatsApp entering digital payments ecosystem in India might pose a threat to local payment and commerce company, Paytm. Sweden-based Truecaller also introduced user-to-user payments in India last week that utilized UPI. Facebook added payments to its Messenger app some time ago in the U.S. and now it is testing this feature for WhatsApp, in addition to other business features.

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