India, where WhatsApp has over 200 million users and its largest market, might only have to wait six months before it can start making peer-to-peer payments through the messaging service.
India-based subscription news site The Ken reports that WhatsApp intends to enable such payments through use of UPI, a cross-bank payment system that has the Indian government’s backing. Nonetheless, WhatsApp was cryptic when pressed on the subject by TechCrunch.
“India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India. We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users,” WhatsApp told the news site.
While WhatsApp owner Facebook long ago implemented the functionality of user payments in its Messenger app in the United States, this feature’s introduction in WhatsApp would make more sense in India, where Messenger trails in popularity.
Indeed, in the South Asian country, WhatsApp has already been increasingly put to e-commerce purposes despite its absence of features expressly supporting such.
Meanwhile, when visiting India in February, WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton admitted that his team was exploring adding payment services to the messaging service that is available across a range of mobile and desktop platforms.