WhatsApp, the popular messaging platform owned by Meta, has announced a significant expansion of its payments service in India. This move aims to simplify transactions between users and businesses, allowing people to make payments directly within the chat. The payment options include UPI apps, rival digital payment services, credit cards, and debit cards.

WhatsApp’s Growing Presence in India

Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted India’s role as a global leader in embracing messaging for both individuals and businesses. With over 500 million users in India, WhatsApp has a substantial user base. However, regulatory restrictions have limited the in-app WhatsApp Pay service to only 100 million users.

Previously, WhatsApp users could make payments on the platform but were often redirected to external payment services like Google Pay, Paytm, or PhonePe. With this expansion, payments through these rival services, as well as any other services running on UPI, can now be completed directly within WhatsApp. Additionally, WhatsApp will introduce in-app options for credit and debit card payments.

While the cap on WhatsApp Pay users remains in place, there are no such restrictions on the number of users who can transact with businesses using alternative payment methods. A Meta spokesperson confirmed this, as reported by Reuters.

Benefits of WhatsApp Payments

This expansion brings several benefits to users. They can add items to their cart and make payments using their preferred method, whether it’s WhatsApp or other options like UPI apps, debit and credit cards, and more. Users no longer need to navigate to a website, open another app, or pay in person, streamlining the payment process.

Eligibility for WhatsApp Payments Service

To use WhatsApp Payments, certain eligibility criteria must be met. Users need to have a phone number with the country code for India and a bank account that supports UPI. Importantly, the phone number used for WhatsApp’s services must match the one linked to the bank account used for Payments.

What’s Next for WhatsApp Payments?

Looking ahead, these new payment tools will be accessible to any company in India that uses WhatsApp’s business platform, primarily serving larger enterprises. WhatsApp is collaborating with partners Razorpay and PayU to streamline the payment process and make it as convenient as sending a message.

Meta is introducing a range of new tools to enhance business interactions on WhatsApp. WhatsApp Flows and the Meta verified badge are among the innovations aimed at expediting communication between users and businesses within the WhatsApp chat.

WhatsApp Flows for Enhanced In-Chat Experiences

WhatsApp Flows is a new feature designed for businesses to create more immersive in-chat experiences for their customers. These experiences could include activities like booking reservations, placing delivery orders, or checking in for a flight—all directly through WhatsApp.

Businesses will have access to a selection of flexible, pre-made building blocks, simplifying the process of designing customized experiences for their customers. Zuckerberg emphasized that WhatsApp Flows empowers businesses to craft tailored interactions within chat threads.

Meta’s commitment to innovation extends to messaging formats, group chats, and broadcast channels. These developments aim to make WhatsApp an even more versatile platform for users and businesses alike.

In conclusion, WhatsApp’s expansion of its payments service in India brings added convenience and efficiency to transactions between users and businesses. With a diverse range of payment options available directly within the chat, WhatsApp is poised to play a more significant role in India’s digital payment ecosystem.

(With agency inputs)

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