Messaging app, Whatsapp has sought for a formal permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to expand its payments services for all of its 200 million users in India. The development comes amid WhatsApp coming under heavy fire from the government over the spread of fake messages on its platforms. The Facebook-owned app still awaits the regulatory clearance from the government authorities to launch full-fledged payments operations in India.
Since it began its deliberations with them on the plan, Whatsapp has added around one million users. Its competitors like Google are already making a good ground in with their payments offerings. WhatsApp chief Chris Daniels has now written a letter to RBI on the issue.
Addressing the RBI governor, Daniels said, "I write to request your formal approval to immediately expand WhatsApp's BHIM UPI (Unified Payments Interface) compliant payments product to all users in India, giving us the opportunity to offer a useful and secure service that can improve the lives of Indian people through digital empowerment and financial inclusion." The letter additionally mentions that the WhatsApp's partner banks have also requested for a formal approval.
Speaking to the Press Trust of India, a WhatsApp spokesperson said the platform is working closely with the multiple authorities including the Indian government, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), and multiple banks, and payment service providers with the objective of expanding the facility to more people and support the country's digital economy.
In an emailed statement the spokesperson said, "Today, almost 1 million people are testing WhatsApp payments in India. The feedback has been very positive, and people enjoy the convenience of sending money as simply and securely as sending messages."
The digital economy is growing rapidly in India so that in the next three years, India will add more than 300 million new mobile subscribers. By 2025, it is highly likely that India will be the largest mobile market in the world.
India is developing a "mobile-first" digital culture, with smartphones fuelling a boom in e-commerce and other forms of business. With a rapidly growing middle class, and a young, tech-savvy population, online personal services are about to take a big jump