New Delhi: India allowed Facebook Inc. to start operating its WhatsApp payments service in the world’s biggest open technology market.
WhatsApp pay can go live using the homegrown, multibank Unified Payments Interface, the National Payments Corporation of India said in a statement.
The U.S firm can gradually expand its UPI base starting with as many as 20 million users. Facebook has been testing WhatsApp payments in India for years, but regulatory hurdles have kept the app’s pilot project to a very small number of users.
India’s payments market is crowded with domestic pioneer Paytm, Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay, Walmart Inc.’s PhonePe, Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon Pay and dozens of other startups. Yet, given its enormous user base of more than 400 million, WhatsApp has the potential to compete with the leaders and reshape digital payments in India — a market slated to grow to $1 trillion by 2023.
Unlike some other rivals, WhatsApp will be able to add customers for its payments service organically because of the popularity of its messaging app in the country.
India is WhatsApp’s largest market, and an important country for Facebook, which is looking for areas to add new users as more lucrative markets like the U.S and Europe become saturated.