No fees, supported by over 140 banks, it's secure, and it's private. That's how Mark Zuckerberg described the long-awaited WhatsApp payment scheme in India.
Families and friends miles away will be able to easily receive payments from each other, without any cash or long waits at banks, all thanks to payments via WhatsApp Pay.
The scheme is overseen by the National Payments Corporation of India, which issued an official statement with the news on Thursday.
The potential for WhatsApp Pay to reshape the way digital payments are made in India is huge.
Facebook Inc., which now owns the messaging app WhatsApp, had been trying for years to obtain a permit to start operating payments via the app in India. Finally, the day has come and the approval for its roll-out has arrived.
Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp 💸 This secure payments experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message. pic.twitter.com/bM1hMEB7sb— WhatsApp Inc. (@WhatsApp) November 6, 2020
Partnering with Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, the partnership will help to expand the world's biggest open technology market, per NDTV.
The National Payments Corporation in India stated that WhatsApp Pay can go live by using the local multi-bank Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The UPI base can grow in a graded manner, and will start with a maximum of 20 million registered user base.
Currently, as per Zuckerberg's video speech, WhatsApp Pay is available in 10 regional Indian language versions.
Facebook had been trying to get WhatsApp Pay off the ground in India since 2018, and at the start of this year, news was already circulating that it would launch in the coming months. That launch date has now come to life, after having started in June in Brazil.
WhatsApp's massive user base, with over 400 million accounts, has a unique advantage in the market, which is due to grow to $1 trillion by 2023. So the news that people in India can now start sending money through the app is a step in that direction.
"Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp," the company said in a November 6 blog post on its website. "We're excited to join India's campaign to increase the ease and use of digital payments, which is helping expand financial inclusion in India."