WhatsApp tests viability of digital payment feature in India

After working on its development since last year, WhatsApp has introduced a beta version of its digital payment feature on Android and iOS in India. The network’s peer-to-peer payment specification will be available to an exclusive group of testers and, if all goes well, it will be released for wide adoption in India. The company hasn’t said whether it will expand the feature to Europe or North America.

WhatsApp is the preferred communication network, with some 200 million daily users.

“Over 80% of small businesses in India and Brazil say WhatsApp helps them both communicate with customers and grow their business today,” says the company’s blog, so no wonder India is an important test market for digital payments.

More and more organizations are switching to digital payments to make their products and services more available to a larger audience. WhatsApp is not the only tech company developing payments via the government-backed UPI (Unified Payment Interface) standard; Amazon India is now also accepting such payments.

Samsung, Zomato and Google are also looking to integrate the interface.  A significant number of banks including the State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, and ICICI Bank have agreed to take part in the digital payment initiative, which is a major step forward as financial institutions deal with a historical flow disruption.

The growing interest and transition towards digital payments in the consumer sector is raising concerns about the security efforts required to sustain the proper flow of transactions. Soon enough, innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things will be also be assimilated to make payments even more accessible. But, looking at their current infrastructures, quite a large number of institutions are not fully prepared to handle this drastic transformation that will expose fintech to a number of risks.

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