The mobile payments industry is a huge revenue stream that some of the top players in the tech industry are competing in. According to statista, the worldwide mobile payment revenue in 2015 was 450 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to surpass 1 trillion U.S. dollars in 2019. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and the popular ones from the far east such as WeChat Pay and Ali Pay, are all competing to carve their own piece of the pie from this lucrative sector. WhatsApp also wants their share.
We initially heard about WhatsApp toying with the mobile app solutions almost a year ago, and now its time for them to show us the fruits of their labour. The company has begun the beta rollout to testers who are based in India. Assuming everything goes well we should see a final release rollout in India, followed by a global rollout soon.
What we are talking about here is User to User payments. This is a huge opportunity for Facebook, who owns WhatsApp, as the messaging app has over 1billion users per day using it. The App uses UPI or Unified Payments Interface, which is a popular part of India's digital payment system that is already servicing many major banks in the country.
Once the payment method goes live for one and all the App will receive an Over the Air (OTA) update. Users will then have a new "Payments" tab in the settings menu. The mobile payments in the WhatsApp App are handled as in-chat attachments and will, therefore, integrate nicely using the same chat user experience. To activate the feature you need to enter your banking details as well as agreeing to some new service and privacy policies.
India is determined to be one of the first countries to become a cashless digital economy. The Digital India programme is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. India wants a “Faceless, Paperless, Cashless” society.
It is possible to sign up as a beta tester using this link, but you will have to have an account with one of the supported Indian banks, which include Axis Bank, State Bank Of India, Yes Bank, ICICI Bank, and others. To make the sending and receiving experience a bit more viable you will also need a friend that has also managed to enrol as a tester. Sign up and wait for the feature to become active. Let us know in comments section if you make it and how the overall experience has been.