The NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) on February 17, has given nod for the preliminary launch of the WhatsApp Payments in India. The corporation has approved the beta testing of the UPI-based service but only for one million users and with a restricted transaction limit.
The popular messaging app has already started rolling out the new feature in India for a limited number of users.
The NPCI said in an official statement: "Currently, the NPCI has given its consent to roll out WhatsApp BHIM UPI beta launch with the limited user base of one million and low per transaction limit. Four banks will join the multi-bank BHIM UPI model in phases (in the coming weeks) and full feature product shall be released after the beta test is successful."
The NPCI, according to its official website, "is an umbrella organization for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India." It has been working to make the digital payments smoother in the country since it was formed in 2009. It is also responsible for rolling out globally recognized products like BHIM-UPI (Bharat Interface for Money).
With the introduction of UPI service, WhatsApp will face a number of competitors in the Indian market like Paytm, PhonePe, Tez, and others. In a recent statement, Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma was critical of WhatsApp's upcoming UPI payment service and raised some safety concerns.
I hope full obligation of BHIM like security and tx data sovereignty too will be implemented before full launch. https://t.co/P8vjvkzkgz
— Vijay Shekhar (@vijayshekhar) February 16, 2018
Sharma stated that the WhatsApp's UPI payment system is not secure as it does not comply with the existing guidelines. He also alleged that Facebook was "killing beautiful open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation."
WhatsApp has over 250 million active users in India. WhatsApp Payments integration is expected to help many small-scale merchants and normal users to send and receive money through digital transactions.