India has been the largest market for WhatsApp with more than 200 million users and now a report from The Ken states that WhatsApp is planning to use UPI in order to enable payments between users in the next six months. WhatsApp has neither denied not confirmed the plans, however in a statement to TechCrunch the company stated how it would work in line with the vision of Digital India.
The talks have been going on since February when WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton met with the country’s IT minister to talk about incorporating the payment system. It’s worth mentioning that Truecaller recently introduced a similar service based on UPI and tied up with ICICI Bank. Facebook has also added a similar functionality to its Messenger app in the U.S but the feature in WhatsApp in India could be more disruptive in nature.
India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India. We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users.-WhatsApp
When it comes to India WhatsApp definitely has the upper hand, literally, everyone is hooked to WhatsApp. Since the credit card penetration is also low in India the peer-to-peer payment might actually shape up as the next big thing. Also, the users will be able to relate to the aspect of sending stuff on WhatsApp since they already do so with a lot of other things. I have earlier seen traders exchanging their goods along with invoice on WhatsApp and the only missing piece in the puzzle seems be the inclusion of a payment system.
The peer-to-peer payment system might prove to be extremely beneficial for folks who sell their goods using WhatsApp. That being said, it might end up being a double edged sword, the WhatsApp might end up being a new generation black market. Furthermore, the emergence of a Dark Internet clone is something we cannot rule out either.