WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant massaging service provider, is reportedly soon going to launch peer-to-peer payments service in India. The IM service provider has over 200 million users in India, out of over a billion users.
If launched, the service will be the first such service by WhatsApp globally. The company has even advertised to hire digital transactions lead in the country.
The news about such service from WhatsApp comes via new media portal The Ken, which reported the story based on unnamed sources. WhatsApp is looking to launch the service within the next six months. The initiative is seen as strategic for Facebook and currently being driven out of the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, reports The Ken.
The career page on WhatsApp has listed an opening for a “digital transaction lead” with knowledge of UPI, Aadhaar and BHIM, to be based out of Menlo Park.
A WhatsApp spokesman 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.
WhatsApp currently has no revenue source, and has not yet announced any plans to monetize the service. Last year, paving way for monetisation, the company eased its privacy rules so data can be used for Facebook advertising and allowing businesses to message its more than one billion users.
Digital transactions in India have surged after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s shock ban of certain high-value bank notes in November last year. The demonetized currencies accounted for more than 80% of the country’s currency in circulation at the time.
In February, the company’s co-founder, Brian Acton, had said that the app was in early stages of investigating digital payments in the country and that he had talked to the Indian government about the matter.
However, WhatsApp isn’t the only service provider to be in the fin-tech space and allowing payments using its platform. Last week, Swedish communications app Truecaller, which has a large user base in India, has also started a mobile payment service in the country based on the UPI platform.
Once launched, WhatsApp has the potential to become the leading payments platform in the country just looking at the number of active users using its platform. Currently, the mobile payments market is being dominated by the likes of Paytm and Freecharge.