WhatsApp has been consistently adding new features in India. Earlier this week, it introduced a new storage management tool for bulk deleting files and started rolling out its disappearing messages feature. The instant messaging app is also tipped to introduce a new “Vacation mode” feature that keeps archived chats permanently hidden. Starting from today, WhatsApp is rolling out its payments feature to all users in India.
WhatsApp has been testing its payments feature since 2018. Around 10 lakh users were making use of it in 2019, but it was not made available to all users across India. After receiving the nod from the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) on Thursday, the Facebook-owned messaging platform has now confirmed that it will be making its payment feature to all users across India in a “graded” manner.
WhatsApp Payments: how to set up, send and receive payments
In order to activate the payment feature on WhatsApp, users need to navigate to the three-dotted icon at the top-right corner and then tap on the Payments > Add Payment method. Doing so will present users with a list of bank names. After choosing the desired bank which is linked o the phone number of the user, the app will prompt the user to verify by sending an SMS by hitting the Verify button. After the verification is done, it will guide users to finish setting up the payment service. The selected bank will now show up on the Payments page.
Apart from the user’s bank account for UPI payments, the Payments page on WhatsApp will also show a QR code for transactions and payment history.
Sending payments securely through WhatsApp is quite simple. To send money, one needs to open the chat with a person and tap on the attachment icon. Next, tap on Payment and enter the required amount that needs to be sent. A note can be also added before sending the payment. To complete the payment, the user will be required to enter their UPI pin. After a successful transaction, it will show a confirmation message.
The payment platform will be available to all users who install the latest version of WhatsApp on Android and iOS. Like other popular payment platforms like Google Pay and Phone pe, WhatsApp users can make payments through UPI. Hence, the sender and the receiver are both required to enable the UPI payments to feature on their WhatsApp. Initially, the payment service by WhatsApp will be made available to 200 lakh users in the country. The company is working with leading banks in India such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank to bring the payments service to users.
What Caused the Delay?
While WhatsApp had been testing the payments service for over 2 years in India, it was not allowed to roll out the feature to all users because it did not meet RBI’s data localisation norms. RBI requires foreign companies to store all transaction-related data and user data in servers in India. Now that the data localisation requirements are met, WhatsApp has received the green light to roll out payments to all its users in the country.