WhatsApp Pay granted permissions to roll out in India

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Facebook’s efforts to bring WhatsApp Pay to India (opens in new tab) are finally bearing fruits, as it has been granted permissions by the NPCI to operate in a limited capacity.

WhatsApp Pay is a digital payment solution that integrates payments in the messaging app and lets users send and receive money. It is supposed to make transactions as easy as sharing an image on the app. It originally came to India in 2018 in a trial phase where the system was tested with a million users. The pilot run was reportedly successful and Zuckerberg was optimistic for the full-fledged rollout.

However, all FinTech companies in India are mandated to comply with regulations from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which includes terms such as 100% data localization. This continues to remain as the major hurdle stopping WhatsApp Pay from operating in India.

A new development suggests that WhatsApp will indeed be allowed to roll out WhatsApp Pay across India after securing key approvals. In its first phase, the services will be offered to 10 million users in the country, and upon meeting the other the conditions, it will be allowed to go ahead with the full rollout.

This time, the entire platform will be built over the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) standard, which was indigenously developed by the NPCI.

Once it does, WhatsApp Pay will be competing with the likes of Paytm and Google Pay in a highly competitive digital payments space. An existing userbase of 400 million, along with one of the shortest learning curves, is sure to make it a force to be reckoned with.

Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.