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Digital wallets and mobile payments are becoming more prominent in our daily lives. While the trend is catching up slowly, WhatsApp the popular messaging app might be very close to introducing a new payments feature in its platform. We have been hearing about it for some time now and the messaging service provider has also been perfecting it for months.
According to a new report, this feature could actually be rolled out in a month or two. FactorDaily reports that the feature is in final testing phase and WhatsApp Pay might be launched in December. Among the various countries, India is likely to get the update and the new feature first as it is WhatsApp's largest market in the world.
Meanwhile, the publication's source has stated, "They are likely to do some sort of an extended beta program for the feature in November and by December you can expect a full rollout." The report also notes that WhatsApp has reportedly partnered with three of India's leading banks- SBI, ICICI and HDFC to launch the feature. In India, the availability of payments stack called unified payments interface will make it easy for WhatsApp to integrate with the banks.
In any case, WhatsApp's entry into the payment arena will definitely be a big threat to digital wallet companies like Paytm and others. Besides, the instant messenger already has over 200 million users in India, so people could adopt it pretty quickly. As per users who have seen the feature they have said that the WhatsApp experience is "slick and convenient to make payments."
What will it offer?
Well, the main highlight of this feature would be that users will be able to make payments without leaving their chat screens. The same source has also stated, "a window with a Rupee symbol will pop up alongside buttons that allow users to share a location or a contact when a user clicks on the attach symbol in the chat window."
Further, once the user taps the Rupee button, then he/she will be able to either send or request money from another contact. Users will be able to quote the desired amount and also type in the personal identification number before sending the message. The users receiving the amount will be notified. There will be an option to accept or reject the request as well.
Well, it looks like WhatsApp is trying to bring convenience for users. Ultimately once this feature launched mobile wallet companies will have something to be worried about. Looking at the reach and the potential of the new feature the Facebook-owned service could dominate the payments space too.