Everything is ready in India for the launch of WhatsApp Pay.
This is an excerpt from a story delivered exclusively to Business Insider Intelligence Payments & Commerce subscribers.
WhatsApp has created the necessary data storage facilities in India to introduce WhatsApp Pay to the chat app’s entire Indian user base, which is estimated to be between 350 million and 400 million users, according to The Economic Times.
The service is now being audited by the India Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), and once the audit is complete WhatsApp can launch WhatsApp Pay throughout India, which will see it work with ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, and SBI.
Here’s what it means: WhatsApp Pay is seemingly set to overcome the obstacles that prevented it from launching in India after its successful beta test.
WhatsApp Pay’s 2018 beta test in India saw it amass 1 million users, but the Indian government introduced privacy-related regulation soon after that prevented it from going live to all users. The beta was launched in February 2018 and offered P2P capabilities when users linked their accounts to a bank account.
And it did go on to meet the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) data localization regulations prior to the October 15, 2018 deadline by providing domestic data storage, while others, like Mastercard and Visa, did not initially. Overcoming this regulation surely slowed down WhatsApp’s plans to roll out its payments service, but it’s now poised to do just that without losing too much time.
The bigger picture: WhatsApp Pay has the potential to rock India’s mobile payment market by leveraging WhatsApp’s popularity.
- WhatsApp Pay could follow WeChat Pay’s blueprint of leaning on the popularity of its parent platform. WeChat Pay is a top player in China’s mobile payment market, with 800 million monthly active users (MAU), and its success is largely due to it being part of WeChat’s ecosystem, which boasts over 1 billion MAU. Being tied to platforms that consumers already use heavily makes it easier to convert them to payments users, and WhatsApp can do the same in India with its established user base. To best leverage this strength, WhatsApp Pay will need its P2P offerings to be attractive as connecting users plays off the strengths of its established platform, and P2P was key to the initial success of WeChat Pay.
- This gives the upcoming service a chance to climb to the top of India’s digital payments market, which is projected to rise from $200 billion in 2018 to $1 trillion in 2023. It will face off against Paytm and its market-leading 350 million active users, as well as Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Mobikwik, and more, as it tries to get established. If WhatsApp Pay can successfully convert WhatsApp users to its service and attract new consumers, its user base could quickly threaten Paytm’s for the largest in the market and position it as a serious contender early on in its run. This would allow it to cash in on the digital payment market as its value skyrockets thanks to factors like growing internet penetration and the opportunity for innovative payments solutions created by merchants’ lack of traditional point-of-sale (POS) terminals.