WhatsApp Gets OK to Extend Payments in India

National Payments Corp. of India gave WhatsApp the green light to extend its Payments feature to up to 20 million people in the country.The Facebook-owned messaging application can offer Payments via NPCI’s Unified Payments Interface multi-bank model.WhatsApp said in a blog post Friday, “WhatsApp designed our Payments feature in partnership with the NPCI using the UPI, an India-first, real-time payment system that enables transactions with over 160 supported banks. We’re excited to join India’s campaign to increase the ease and use of digital payments, which is helping expand financial inclusion in India.”Users must have a bank account and debit card in India to use Payments.WhatsApp sends instructions to banks, or payment service providers, to initiate the transfer of money via UPI between the sender’s and receiver’s accounts. A UPI PIN (personal identification code) must be entered for each payment.Five leading banks in India are participating at debut: Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Jio Payments Bank and the State Bank of India.WhatsApp wrote in its blog post, “In the long run, we believe the combination of WhatsApp and UPI’s unique architecture can help local organizations address some of the key challenges of our time, including increasing rural participation in the digital economy and delivering financial services to those who have never had access before.”WhatsApp began testing Payments in India with roughly 1 million users in early 2018.WhatsApp touted the first countrywide rollout of its Payments service in Brazil in June, saying at the time that payments, enabled by Facebook Pay, could be made securely without leaving the app, and a special six-digit PIN or fingerprint would be required in order to prevent unauthorized transactions.However, that service was put on hold before month’s end by Banco Central do Brasil.


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