WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature in India that will allow users in its largest market to pay businesses using a variety of payment options from within the instant messaging app.
The Meta-owned app on Wednesday said it has partnered with PayU and Bengaluru-headquartered Razorpay to add support for payments via credit and debit cards, net banking and all UPI apps in India.
Wednesday’s move follows WhatsApp partnering with Stripe earlier this year to help its users in Singapore pay businesses through the app. The app also enabled merchant payments in Brazil in June.
“This is going to make it even easier for people to pay Indian businesses within a WhatsApp chat using whatever method they prefer,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta, in his virtual remarks at the company’s Conversations 2023 event in Mumbai.
WhatsApp confirmed to TechCrunch that the payment feature is available to all businesses in India using the WhatsApp Business platform.
With more than 500 million users in India online on WhatsApp, the South Asian market is Meta’s largest globally. The app first introduced its payment services — built atop of UPI — in India in 2020 in a pilot that was expanded to 100 million users last year. However, it continues to face a tough fight from the likes of Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe and Indian fintech giant Paytm that are dominating the UPI ecosystem.
Indian businesses on WhatsApp could take payments from customers using UPI-based WhatsApp Pay previously. Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries utilized that support to offer an end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp through its JioMart bot last year. However, the latest update eases customer experience by bringing third-party payment options for merchants selling products through the app.
It also broadens the scope for both customers and businesses to use WhatsApp as a commerce solution. Nevertheless, the messaging app, which has over 200 million monthly active users worldwide on its business app, has yet to see a significant number of its regular users making purchases through its platform in India.
WhatsApp Business has been a crucial source of revenue for WhatsApp, which does not charge users directly through subscriptions and has no plans to serve ads.
Earlier this year, the app introduced paid features for automation and custom merchant messages. Enhanced payment support might boost revenue as more users shop via WhatsApp, attracting more businesses. WhatsApp is also getting richer in-app shopping experience through a feature called Flows, which will allow users to complete tasks such as picking a seat on a flight or booking an appointment directly from the messaging app.