WhatsApp is working towards incorporating a new segment in its chat platform. The Facebook-owned company is aiming to provide its users with a new feature which will enable them to make and receive payment within the app and they name it can be WhatsApp Pay
Everything You Need To Know About WhatsApp pay
This will be the first time that WhatsApp is introducing the payments feature WhatsApp Pay anywhere in the world.
The feature is in its final stages and WhatsApp employees are testing it out the WhatsApp pay, according to a person with knowledge of the plan.
“They are likely to do some sort of an extended beta program for the feature in November and by December you can expect a full rollout,” the person said, asking to stay anonymous.
The Facebook-owned company has partnered with three banks – State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, three of India’s biggest banks, to launch WhatsApp pay.
The uniqueness of the WhatsApp payments or WhatsApp pay feature is that a user can make payments without leaving the chat interface just like sharing a contact or location on the instant messenger. According to the person quoted earlier, who has worked closely with WhatsApp, a window with a Rupee symbol will pop up alongside buttons that allow users to share a location or a contact when a user clicks on the attach symbol in the chat window.
On clicking the Rupee button (in India), the user can either send or request money. The user can input the amount to be paid and personal identification number before hitting send. On the other end, the receiver will get a notification, similar to the one when you receive a contact. There is an option to accept or reject the request.
In April, The Ken had reported that WhatsApp was working on the feature and is likely to roll that out in the next 6 months. A Twitter user, Raj S, on Saturday tweeted: “Just saw a couple of WhatsApp #UPI screens; payments players should start shitting bricks right now. No, seriously.”
Near zero cost of customer acquisition
WhatsApp’s entry into space threatens digital wallet companies, as the instant messenger counts over 200 million users in India, the largest user base it has in the world. The WhatsApp experience is slick and convenient to make payments, as per users who have seen the feature.
This is the first time WhatsApp is launching a feature like this anywhere in the world. What makes it easy for the company is that India has built a payments stack called unified payments interface, which makes it easy for others to integrate with the banks.
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“The market is absolutely ripe for a WeChat like play,” points out Jasminder Gulati, the co-founder of Nowfloats. His company helps small and medium businesses build a presence online. Small and medium business across India use WhatsApp extensively to do business. Consulting firm Zinnov estimates that nearly 2 million women sell products using WhatsApp and Facebook, totalling sales of $8-9 billion. This is projected to grow to $48-60 billion by 2022, Zinnov said.
To understand why this is so powerful, A similar trend was adopted by the Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp – WeChat. Being a chat platform, WeChat had launched a payment option for its users and since then, has become a major player in the payments market. If WhatsApp is able to roll-out this feature efficiently, it may become a tough competitor for the existing payment platforms in India including Paytm, Mobikwik and others.
In the first quarter of 2017, WeChat Pay had nearly 40% market share in China while Alipay had about 54% share, according to research firm Analysys. In 2014, Alipay had 80% market share. China’s mobile payments sector is estimated to be about $5.5 trillion in size.
With the payments interface, India has become a sort of ground zero for digital payments innovation. Companies like Google, Amazon and Uber are getting in on the action alongside players like PhonePe, Paytm and MobiKwik.
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