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Former Amazon Pay director to lead WhatsApp payment business

Former Amazon Pay director to lead WhatsApp payment business
Manesh Mahatme
29 Jun, 2021

Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp on Monday said it has appointed Manesh Mahatme to lead its payments business in India. 

As director WhatsApp Payments - India, Manesh will focus on enhancing the payments experience and scaling the service offering, the company said in a statement. 
 
Mahatme joins WhatsApp after a near seven-year stint as director and board member of Amazon Pay India where he led product, engineering, and growth teams. He has worked with Airtel Money, Mashreq Bank and Citibank in the past. 

“Manesh has been one of key innovators driving the growth of digital payments in India over the last decade, and his experience will help us maximize the impact and scale of payments on WhatsApp. WhatsApp has immense potential to digitally empower people across segments and help accelerate the Government of India’s efforts to drive financial inclusion through UPI and digital payments,” said Abhijit Bose, head of WhatsApp in India. 

Mahatme is a graduate from BITS, Pilani in electronics engineering and SP Jain, Mumbai in management. 

"Payments on WhatsApp is uniquely placed to be a significant partner in the country’s growth agenda by making digital payments accessible to users across the length and breadth of India. I am super excited to be a part of this growth story,” Mahatme said. 

After working its way out of one regulatory hurdle after another for two years, WhatsApp Pay, the chat platform’s UPI (unified payments interface)-based payment feature finally went live in November last year. 

Within a month of its launch, the company facilitated about Rs 29.72 crore across 0.81 million transactions in December 2020. However, it is yet to make a significant impact on India’s burgeoning digital payments space. 
 
As per National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) data for the month of May, PhonePe continued to lead the UPI apps pack, capturing 45.3% market share, at near 1.2 billion number of payments. A consistent runner-up, Google Pay, saw its total number of UPI transactions at about 880.6 million, commanding a 34.7% market share. Paytm saw its total number of UPI transactions at 343.8 million holding 13.5% market share.    

Apart from the three reported players, only five other UPI service provider apps reported transactions in the volume range of minimum eight figures. They were, in descending order, Axis Bank, Amazon Pay, Yes Bank, BHIM, and ICICI Bank. 

WhatApp has been embroiled in a number of controversies with the government of India over its privacy policy and fake news. 

In May, WhatsApp filed a legal petition against the government challenging the new Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code. WhatsApp, in its petition, argued that the requirement for ensuring traceability of messages on the platform and the identification of the originator of a message mentioned in the new rules goes against fundamental right to the privacy of citizens of India.