WhatsApp Moves to P2P First, Businesses Come Next

  • Grace Noto
  • April 4, 2017
  • 0

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp is beginning its trek into payments, using the UPI system to enable the feature in India.

WhatsApp–which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $22 billion–has 1.2 billion monthly active users as of February 2017, many of whom are businesses interacting with their consumers, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

200 million of WhatsUp users are in India, and, as reported by India-based The Ken, the company will enable P2P payments for those users in just six months.

While the service’s first steps into payments are in the Venmo-dominated P2P space, Zuckerbeg noted on the company’s earnings call in February that giving businesses “transactional interactions” with consumers would be useful, as businesses gravitate more towards the service (rather than Facebook Messenger) for more personal interactions with consumers.

WhatsApp has not made a formal announcement regarding a pending payments project; however, the company did post a job listing on its site for a “Digital Transactions Lead, India.”

The lead is expected to have a working knowledge of the UPI payments system, be able to work with banks, help scale “global support” for digital transactions on the app, and “be an advocate” for the service’s use, according to the post.

This seems to suggest that WhatsApp plans for the payments feature to become a global offering, should the service do well in its largest market. With only a six-month launch timeline for the P2P service, the company shouldn’t have any problems designing a bigger service for business payments.

Bank Innovation reached out to WhatsApp and Facebook for comment.

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