It looks like major banks in India might soon start sending alerts and communications via WhatsApp. As per a report by Hindustan Times, at least five top banks are already in the process of testing or implementing the rollout of WhatsApp-based communications. It is said that these banks will use the messaging platform to let their customers know about point-of-sale transactions as well as ATM withdrawals as mandated by the RBI.
This implementation will use the enterprise communication solutions of the messaging platform, which will let large companies communicate directly with their customers through WhatsApp. Customers are required to provide the phone number registered with WhatsApp to link their account to receive communications and alerts.
Already, the WhatsApp for Business app is being used by large-scale businesses such as airlines and Netflix. The latter keeps users informed about their new shows and movies. Banks are likely to use this feature of the app to notify customers about the ATM withdrawals and debit and credit card transactions. For now, these alerts come through SMS and the WhatsApp messages can come in addition to such SMS.
It is reported that the same channel can be used to allow communication with the banks. It will let text-based interactions to handle customer service issues and queries. As per the report, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank are some banks working on this means of communication.
The report quotes a spokesperson from State Bank of India saying, "We are examining all aspects related to communication on WhatsApp, and will take a decision based on this."
Notably, WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion monthly active users across the world. A majority of these users (roughly 200 million) are from India. Communicating through WhatsApp will let the banks reach their customers easily. It will also lay the path for a two-way communication between the banks and the large user base. There are expectations that many customers of these banks would be active WhatsApp users as it is most popular instant messaging platform in the country. This will make the task of the banks easier.