After demonetization, the government has been pushing digital payments among users in India. Whatsapp has reportedly started testing its payments feature in here. It is currently available for select beta users on android and iOS. This new feature will enable users to send and receive money using the Indian government’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) standard.
What is UPI? It is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India facilitating inter-bank transactions. It is built over Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) for transferring funds. Other popular UPI based payments include Tez, BHIM, Phonepe, Paytm, SBI Pay and much more. Users can send and receive money directly from their bank account just by entering the VPA, without the need for knowing the recipient’s name, bank name, account number, IFSC code and other details.
Considering the popularity and large user base of Whatsapp, this new feature will probably give a boost to digital payments in the country. It is supposedly available on WhatsApp version 2.18.21 for iOS devices and version 2.18.41 for Android devices. Apparently, this feature can be accessed through the attachments menu in the chat window. Choosing the payments option in the attachments menu will show a popup with the disclaimer and list of banks to choose from.
Like all other digital payments apps, Whatsapp payments will also have to incorporate high level of security to ensure that user information is safe. It remains to be seen if whatsapp payments is going to offer anything different from its competitors and become a game changer for digital payments in India.