On Wednesday, WhatsApp announced its plans to introduce credit card payment options and incorporate services from competing digital payment providers within its app in India. This move represents Meta Platforms Inc.’s effort, as the owner of WhatsApp, to enhance its commerce offerings in its largest market.
In India, WhatsApp boasts an impressive user base exceeding 500 million; however, local regulators have restricted the utilization of the in-app WhatsApp Pay service to a mere 100 million users. Customers could also use popular payment methods like Google Pay, Paytm, and Walmart Inc.’s PhonePe to complete their purchases on the social messaging app, but only after being redirected outside of WhatsApp.
According to a blog post by Meta, payments made through those competing services—as well as any others that use India’s quick money transfer technology, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI)—will now be accepted directly within WhatsApp.
These enhancements align with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s aim to establish business messaging as a primary driver of the company’s revenue growth, a priority that has become more pressing in light of challenges faced by Meta’s core advertising business and metaverse initiative.
As per a representative from Meta, there are no restrictions on the quantity of users engaging in business transactions with companies on WhatsApp through alternative methods. Nevertheless, the number of WhatsApp Pay users will remain constrained in India.
With approximately 300 million people utilizing UPI for monthly transactions totaling $180 billion in India, the increased payment options could serve as a compelling reason for businesses to compensate Meta for the privilege of reaching WhatsApp users.
To date, WhatsApp has limited its end-to-end purchasing experiences in India to pilot programs with the metro systems in Chennai and Bangalore and Mukesh Ambani’s JioMart, an online grocery store.
According to the blog post, going forward, the new payment facilities would be accessible to any Indian firm that utilises WhatsApp’s commercial platform, which mostly caters to large businesses.
For $19 billion, Meta purchased WhatsApp in 2014.