WhatsApp to launch payments operations in India this year

WhatsApp to launch payments operations in India this year
Will Cathcart
25 Jul, 2019

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp will launch its unified payments interface (UPI)-backed payments product, WhatsApp Pay, across India later this year. WhatsApp Pay, a pilot launched in early 2018, is available to select one million users so far. 

“Our next step is to drive payments in India and to make it as easy as sending a message,” Will Cathcart, global head of WhatsApp, said at an event today. 

Cathcart, who is on a three-day visit to India, met representatives from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday. Company executives confirmed that WhatsApp had met all requirements for localisation of financial data for its payment product through its partner banks in compliance with the RBI regulations of April 2018.  

Cathcart will be meeting representatives from the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) along with Victoria Grand, vice president of global policy and communications at WhatsApp and other representatives from the policy team. 

MeitY had asked WhatsApp to provide traceability of messages to weed out fake news and misinformation.

“We welcome you (WhatsApp Pay) to fulfil the necessary regulatory commitments and drive digital payments in India,”  NITI Aayog chief Amitabh Kant said at the event.

Cathcart also announced WhatsApp’s partnership with Women Transforming India Awards 2019, an initiative of NITI Aayog, where the company has committed to giving $100,000 (Rs 69 lakh at the current exchange rate) to the winners.

The popular chat app claims to have about 400 million subscribers in India, up from 200 million in 2018.