Facebook readies WhatsApp Pay for Indian launch

Facebook readies WhatsApp Pay for Indian launch

WhatsApp is set to launch its P2P payments system later this year, beginning in India, before rolling out to its 1.5 billion users globally.

The Facebook-owned messaging system has been testing the system in India for the past year, where the app has 400 million users.

The idea behind WhatsApp Pay is to make transferring cash as easy as sending a message.

“It’s a regulatory approval question in India at this point,” Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said during the company’s earnings conference yesterday. “We’re also working beyond India in a number of other countries and hope to have this rolled out to a large percent of the people who use WhatsApp within the next year.”

In May, Facebook let slip that it had chosen London as the base for a new team dedicated to bringing payments to European users of the popular messaging service.

Speaking at the firm's developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg stated: "Payments is one of the areas where we have an opportunity to make it a lot easier. I believe it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo."

The move deepens Facebook's interest in the payments industry, coming in the wake of the reveal of the social media giant's planned cryptocurrency Libra.

Comments: (2)

Steve Ellis
Steve Ellis - Finextra Research - London 29 July, 2019, 12:26Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


At M2020 Europe, Facebook's Paulette Rowe referenced their WhatsApp pilot in India. It caught the eye because the 'pilot' reportedly had one million users (which provides banks with a bit of perspective on the scale of Big Tech).

If I remember correctly, Facebook had tracked user behaviour around sharing images within WhatsApp but then promptly leaving the app. It became apparent users were sharing and discussing goods to buy and sell but were going elsewhere to complete their purchase. Hence the goal was to allow users to start and finish their transactions inside the app.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 05 August, 2019, 10:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I think, WhatsApp may be a bit too late to this game. As an Indian, and having used 'WhatsApp Pay' for a few months now, this is what I think..

- The market isnt really very-excited about 'WhatsApp Pay' and its prospects. They lack a serious differentiation. 

- Other entities such as 'PayTM', 'Google Pay' and 'Amazon Pay' honestly have better interface, success-rates, UI and Loyalty-programs. They've been at it for years now. 

- Payments (digital, anytime and to anyone) is being provided by every bank, and messaging app in the country. 

I wonder, what tricks and treats will WhatsApp/FB conjure to gain market-share.