WhatsApp to enter partnership with multiple banks to enable UPI payments

The NPCI has been tasked with facilitating at least 11 billion digital transactions this fiscal said CEO A.P. Hota

Menlo Park, California-based Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) owned WhatsApp has secured permission to launch an in-app payments service in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India initiative will get another boost in the days to come as the world's largest internet search company brings UPI payment system in the country. "Since about 60percent of these cabs drivers still get paid in cash by customers, UPI payments will help Uber's drivers make their payments to Uber using UPI", NPCI CEO AP Hota told ET. In the next phase, it will have a wallet integrated into the Uber app. Ola, Uber's local rival, has already integrated UPI into Ola Money, its mobile wallet to pay drivers. Recent reports confirm that Google is awaiting Reserve Bank of India's approval to launch its UPI service in India. After all, Android is the dominant operating system in India.

"We are always looking for ways to make it easy for people to pay with their mobile devices, for instance Android Pay in some countries, and continually evaluating ways to expand those capabilities to the next billion users", said a Google spokesperson. With Google's Android Pay, Uber, Facebook, and WhatsApp aboard the UPI gravy train and pushing hard for mobile payments; this number may be well within the reach. "For Facebook, discussions are in preliminary stage", is what Hota told PTI.

Payments will allow for users of the messaging application to make in-app payments and purchases, as well as transfer money to other users.

Back in 2015, Facebook announced peer-to-peer payments on its Messenger app. While Facebook has thus far leveraged Instagram to supplement top and bottom line growth for the social media giant, soon, WhatsApp may add another source of revenue.

Ecommerce behemoth Amazon is also discussing the launch of UPI with a few banks and testing it. Technically it is available, but RBI would have to take a holistic look. "They are talking actively to leading banks now", Hota said. The world's largest cross-platform instant messaging app, which has more than 200 million active users in India, is expected to launch its service later this year. "Truecaller, PhonePe, Chiller- there are sixteen such big fin-tech companies". "It is the future of Indian payments and we are proud to be a partner in this monumental mission of the government to facilitate digital payments led society".

After demonetization past year, online payment apps have witnessed a humungous amount of transactions which resulted in the rise of UPI platforms.

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