WhatsApp is reportedly planning to launch a mobile payment solution and if the company does proceed with it, India will likely be the first country to receive such a feature. This report first emerged after a job listing for a “Digital Transactions Lead” first emerged on the company’s website. WhatsApp requires someone who has a deep understanding of India and its culture. On top of that, candidates must be able to understand and explain the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) and Aadhar number, all of which are used throughout India. Candidates must also be bilingual, with the ability to speak, write and read in English and Hindi, both of which are the official languages in the country. With such criteria, it is highly likely that the company is gearing to launch a mobile payment solution in India.
The payment solution will likely be a peer-to-peer payment system and it may be powered by the UPI. The UPI is a cross-bank payment system which is backed by the Indian government under the Digital India initiative. WhatsApp has also stated that it wants to contribute towards the Digital India vision. For those who are wondering, peer-to-peer transactions are electronic money transfers made from one person to another, and it is usually done through an app. If WhatsApp does launch such a feature in India in the near future, over 200 million users of the messaging app will benefit from it. However, if the feature is rolled out to all users, about 1.2 billion WhatsApp users will be able to make use of it.
WhatsApp will not be the first to launch a mobile payment solution through its app, as other apps have done something similar. This includes WeChat and also Facebook, which added a payment option to its Messenger app over a year back, though it is only available in the US at the moment. WhatsApp has been constantly adding new features to its app over the past few months with the latest being Status. The feature essentially allows users to share pictures or videos which will disappear after being on the app for 24 hours.