WhatsApp’s Indian users can now send money to friends and family with the ease of sending a text. Earlier this month, it was announced that WhatsApp will be launching its financial services to what has always been its largest market.
With 400 million users in India, WhatsApp has made no secret of its ambitions to start providing more services to users in India. The Facebook-owned company has spent billions of dollars for a stake in India’s largest mobile operation, having teamed up with the country’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, to tap into the internet boom in the sector. India also has 60 million small business users, most of whom “need digital tools they can rely on to find and communicate with customers and grow their businesses,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared in a Facebook post.
Announcing the launch was the National Payments Corporation of India, an organization affiliated with the Reserve Bank of India. The National Payments Corporation confirmed in a statement that it had provided approval for WhatsApp to roll out the service to more people starting with 20 million accounts. Adding to the celebrations, Zuckerberg shared in a video statement “I am excited today that WhatsApp has been approved to launch payments across India.”
Partnering with WhatsApp on this move will be Jio Payments Bank, which Facebook had funnelled $5.7 billion into in April of this year in anticipation of this launch. The feature is said to be available in 10 different Indian languages and will only require that users have a bank and debit card with a lender that enables transactions across different apps in India.
WhatsApp first announced its intentions to migrate to online payments over three years ago. Since then it has been testing online payments in India despite running into a series of regulatory hurdles that has prevented it from rolling the service out to all of its Indian users.
With India’s market potential, no doubt WhatsApp will continue to grow exponentially from this development in the region.