You may only have to wait for a few weeks before you could start using your favourite messaging app, WhatsApp, to send money to your friends and family. The much-anticipated feature has already been spotted in the beta version of the Android app that the Facebook-owned company released this week.
WhatsApp for Android 2.17.285 beta comes with a hidden page in the app for the payment feature, according to blog WABetaInfo, which also shared an image of the feature. From what we can gather from the image, WhatsApp will allow bank to bank transfer using UPI (Unified Payment Interface), which works on top of Aadhaar infrastructure. Since it’s using UPI, the bank to bank transfer will be instantaneous, as UPI works on IMPS protocol.
Gadgets 360 reported last month that WhatsApp was planning to introduce payments feature by year-end. The company, at the time, was speaking with NPCI to figure out ways to implement the feature.
Several popular messaging services including WeChat and Hike Messenger already support payment services. However, a push from WhatsApp, which is the most popular app in India with over 200 million active users, could further extend the reach of digital payments in India.
Since demonetisation last year, mobile payments apps such as Paytm (the most popular wallet app in the country) and MobiKwik have seen exponential growth in number of transactions and user base. However, none of them have as many active users as WhatsApp. Interestingly, as WhatsApp enters Paytm’s territory, the mobile wallet app is planning to introduce messaging feature.
Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.