The central bank of Brazil has suspended Facebook's WhatsApp payment service within ten days of its roll out, citing competition issues in the mobile payment space.
In a statement, the central bank said it was taking the decision to “preserve an adequate competitive environment” and to ensure “functioning of a payment system that’s interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and cheap.”
The injunction demands that Visa and Mastercard suspend launching payments and transfers on WhatsApp, or cease such operations immediately.
The central bank also stated that it hadn't had the opportunity to analyse the P2P messaging system in advance of its roll out.
WhatsApp began testing P2P payments in India in 2018 but Brazil, where the messaging service has 120 million users, became the first country to get a nationwide rollout.
Banco Central do Brasil's pushback is a serious blow to Facebook's ambitions in the payment space, and mirrors the firm's difficulties in gaining regulatory approval in the vast Indian marketplace.