WhatsApp Pay on Wednesday announced it is now live with State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank for its up to 20 million users in India. After two years of waiting, Facebook-owned WhatsApp payment service received approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in November to go live on Unified Payment Interface (UPI) with over 160 supported banks.
WhatsApp can expand its UPI user base in a graded manner starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million. "UPI is a transformative service and we jointly have the opportunity to bring the benefits of our digital economy and financial inclusion to a large number of users who have not had full access to them before," Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp, India, said during the Facebook 'Fuel for India' virtual event.
The peer-to-peer (P2P) payment feature is available now in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp.
"We introduced banking services on WhatsApp in April. Over two million users have adopted banking services on WhatsApp in this short span. Now with WhatsApp Payments, there is a unique opportunity to scale essential financial services to people all over the country with ease," said Bijith Bhaskar, Head - Digital Channels & Partnership, ICICI Bank.
According to a latest report by Bengaluru-based research firm RedSeer, digital payments in India are expected to reach $94 trillion by the financial year 2025.
"We're excited and privileged to partner with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and AXIS Bank to bring simple and secure digital payments to WhatsApp users across India," Bose said in a statement.
SBI now offers UPI services through the WhatsApp Payments, bringing the convenience of easy and instant mobile based payments.
Parag Rao, Country Head-Payments Business, Consumer Finance, Digital Banking & Marketing, HDFC Bank said that the partnership with WhatsApp Pay is yet another important step toward achieving financial inclusion and making affordable financial services available to Indians.
"Such partnerships will further fuel the economic growth and development of the nation," Rao added.
WhatsApp had said earlier that the payments feature is designed with a strong set of security and privacy principles, including entering a personal UPI PIN for each payment.
In India, the WhatsApp payment service competes against major players like Paytm, Google Pay and PhonePe, among others.