WhatsApp starts payments service in India

The US-based messaging service WhatsApp on Friday said it had started its payments service in India, through which people can send money online as long as they have a bank account and debit card.

“This secure payment experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message. People can safely send money to a family member or share the cost of goods from a distance without having to exchange cash in person or going to a local bank,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.

The messaging service received National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) approval on Wednesday to “Go Live” on Unified Payment Interface (UPI) in a graded manner. “We’re excited to join India’s campaign to increase the ease and use of digital payments, which is helping expand financial inclusion in India,” WhatsApp said.

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The messaging service owned by Facebook counts India as its biggest market with more than 400 million users. It has been running a peer-to-peer payments service with limited users for over two years and was awaiting regulatory approvals. WhatsApp said it had partnered with five Indian banks, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank, for the service. “Payments are available now in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a video statement.

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