Monday, July 10, 2017

WhatsApp gets nod for UPI payments

The world's most-popular messaging application WhatsApp has received permission from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to enter into partnership with multiple banks to allow users to make in-app payments and money transfers using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

UPI enables account-to-account transfers from a mobile app without having any details of the beneficiary's bank.

A P Hota, MD and CEO, NPCI, confirmed that WhatsApp has received a nod from the apex payments institution. The Facebook-owned WhatsApp had been in talks with banks for a while now. The approval for multi-bank partnership could put its payments business ambition on a fast track. Some of the banks WhatsApp is in talks with are Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and Punjab National Bank, among others.

This is the first time that NPCI, an umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems in India, has approved a mobile app to enter into multi-bank partnerships. "Players like WhatsApp and Google are very large in size and thus partnering with multiple banks makes sense to ensure a smooth payments process. Google is now awaiting the Reserve Bank of India's approval to go live on UPI," said Hota.

Online merchants like Amazon and Uber are also in final stages of testing before enabling customers to make payments using UPI, Hota added. Flipkart and some other e-commerce companies have already started accepting UPI payments. Earlier, another mobile app Truecaller had entered into a partnership with ICICI Bank for payments using UPI.
Hota said, "We have permitted multi-bank partnership as WhatsApp did not want all transactions routed via one bank when payment loads are high." Hota did not provide a timeline as to by when WhatsApp payments would be live on UPI.

An email sent by TOI to a spokesperson for WhatsApp did not elicit a response till the time of publishing. An email sent by TOI to a spokesperson for WhatsApp did not elicit a response till the time of going to print.Earlier this year, the company had announced that it has about 200 million monthly active users in India.

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