WhatsApp has started rolling out the beta version of its UPI-enabled digital payment system in India. This update is not yet available to the common public as it is still in the test phase. The payment system update has been offered to a select group of testers right now. Once the test process is complete, WhatsApp payment system with UPI interface will be available to all users.
The Facebook-owned instant messaging service provider has already been testing the payment service for a while. It was reported last month that the digital payment system of WhatsApp will hit the markets soon. The report also stated that WhatsApp has been in talks with various major banks including HDFC and SBI to successfully integrate the payment service.
The test version of WhatsApp messenger comes with a ‘payment’ option that replaces the ‘camera’ option in the chat box (next to the attachment button). Once the option is chosen, users are allowed to see the list of banks that can be added and the bank accounts that are already added to the system. This beta version will fully test the security features of the application before it gets launched on a wider scale.
WhatsApp is currently entering a market that is overcrowded with multiple players including Paytm, Google Tez, Truecaller Wallet, Hike Messenger Wallet, PhonePe, etc. The competition among these service providers is all set to get intense in the coming days.
Though WhatsApp is a late entrant to this market, the company has advantage over other players in terms of active user base. As of February 2017, it had more than 200 million active users in India. This number might have gone up substantially in the last one year. With this huge customer base, WhatsApp has the potential to be a game changer as far as digital payments are concerned. We must wait to see if this huge customer base has given WhatsApp an edge over other players in the market.