Although WhatsApp’s partners are not ready for the step, its parent company Facebook has decided to go ahead with the decision of launching the WhatsApp Payments feature as early as next week in order to capture market share in India. Anonymous people who didn’t wish to be named said that Facebook was accelerating the rollout of the WhatsApp payments feature with full fervour since the competition is growing by the second. The California based company is going to partner with HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. To facilitate transactions over the platform, State Bank of India is also expected to partner ahead once the proper systems are in place for the government led bank. For the unaware, the service was initially rolled out to just a million users and was available for others on an invite-only basis.
People are starting to compare the coming of WhatsApp Payments in India to the event which happened in China when WeChat brought the payments feature onboard and received massive success in the country. It is a consensus that the coming of WhatsApp payments is going to be a great threat to the likes of Google Tez and Paytm since these apps lack the social-media aspect which WhatsApp has no dearth of. This news was reported by Bloomberg.
According to Forrester Inc. the daily active users of WhatsApp which is a number as high as 60% of the US population, is a figure which makes the usage statistics of Paytm feel miniscule. The numbers are high as 20 times that of Alibaba backed Paytm. More than 200 million users use WhatsApp in India.
Also, when asked the company directly, WhatsApp spokesperson declined to make any comment saying that the company doesn’t respond to speculations. ICICI Bank couldn’t immediately comment, and emails sent to State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank by Bloomberg also went unanswered.
The progress made by WhatsApp is however very bitter for rival companies. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm Payments Bank has been an open and vocal critic of WhatsApp. He also sent tweets in February with an aggressive take saying that the Facebook-owned company was bypassing security requirements and was trying to create a “walled payments garden”.
However, contrary to the statement made by Paytm CEO, as per Dilip Asbe, the chief executive officer of NPCI, National Payments Corp. of India, the umbrella body that oversees retail payments and settlement systems in Asia’s No 3 economy, has no concerns about data security on the payment services offered by WhatsApp. Asbe made the statement on May 9, in Mumbai, and looking at the rave reviews which WhatsApp Payments has received in its pilot version, it can be surely said that the payments sector in India is going to be shaken with WhatsApp’s arrival in the playing field.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.