WhatsApp has begun testing a new payments feature in India that will allow people to send money to other WhatsApp users, excluding merchant accounts. The feature is currently in beta, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans, but hasn’t been publicly announced because it’s not widely available at this time.
India is amongst the first countries to get the new feature and will be available for all users in coming days. Although the feature has gone live, the iOS users will have to wait a little longer to transfer/receive money through WhatsApp, since it is only released for Android users. Adding the new payment option to the app, WhatsApp is on its way to becoming something beyond just a messaging platform. WhatsApp will go head-to-head against the likes of already popular mobile wallets such as Paytm, Google Tez, Mobikwik, and others.
The Facebook-owned company had received approval from the Indian government to integrate UPI into its messaging service last July in order to implement payments, according to The Economic Times.
The addition puts WhatsApp into competition with other messaging services that already support payments, including the recently launched Tez from Google and Tencent-backed Hike, for example, as well as digital wallet platform Paytm, which expanded into messaging in order to take on WhatsApp more directly.