WhatsApp, the biggest instant messaging platform in India, is set to launch a payment service later this month. The BBC’s Devina Gupta reports on how this could affect the country’s $400bn (£290bn) mobile wallet market.
WhatsApp is currently testing a beta version of its payment app, which it has rolled out for some Indian users. It will allow users to send and receive money using the popular app.
For a majority of Indians, the phone is the first point of exposure to the internet, and Whatsapp, with more than 200 million users, is a giant in India’s rapidly growing mobile market.
The move has worried Paytm, the country’s largest mobile payment company. Its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has accused WhatsApp of bypassing crucial payment norms that guarantee security of customers. The government has denied this.
Paytm is part-owned by Japan’s Softbank and China’s Alibaba and already has about 300 million registered users in the country, with the number of daily transactions touching five million.
It was also one of the biggest beneficiaries of the decision by India’s federal government to cancel 86% of the country’s currency overnight in 2016 as part of anti-corruption measures.
Paytm had said then that it saw a 700% increase in overall traffic and a 300% surge in app downloads.