WhatsApp takes on Google and Alibaba in India’s phone payments battle

Whatsapp Pay allows people to send and receive money through the messaging platform.


WhatsApp entered an increasingly tense battle on Friday between multinational giants such as Google and Alibaba for a part of India’s rapidly growing digital payments market.

The Facebook-owned company said it was launching Whatsapp Pay just hours after receiving clearance from the country’s payments regulator. India is the largest courier business market with some 400 million users.

Whatsapp Pay – which allows people to send and receive money through the messaging platform – was launched in Brazil in June but was quickly suspended due to competition objections raised by the central bank . Authorities have since indicated that he will be allowed to do so.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said in a video statement accompanying the launch in India that the move would spur “innovation” in payments.

Zuckerberg also praised India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) which is used in the country of 1.3 billion people to manage payment applications, with more than 140 Indian banks being part of the network.

UPI is also used by Alphabet Inc’s Google Pay, Walmart’s PhonePe, and Alibaba-backed Paytm, which dominate the digital payments market in India.

“India is the first country to do something like this,” Zuckerberg said of the network.

India’s UPI processed more than two billion transactions in October and 1.8 billion the month before.

The stakes are high for all competitors, as the digital payments market was worth around $ 75 billion in 2019 and is expected to exceed $ 500 billion by 2025.

WhatsApp has partnered with five Indian lenders including State Bank of India, the largest public sector institution, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Jio Payments Bank to roll out the service.

The National Payments Corporation of India has set a cap of 20 million users of the Whatsapp service in the first phase. All must have a debit card and a bank account.

The American firm has been waiting two years to launch its service, testing pilot payments for around one million customers.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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