Ever since the popular messaging service launched its direct payment operations, Indians have been asking themselves how it makes their lives easier. Some explanations on WhatsApp Pay coverage and functions are due.

WhatsApp Pay Launch Means More Choices in Free Direct Payments 

Ever since the Facebook-owned company released its direct payment service in November, many of its 400 million Indian users have begun noticing the functionality and asking questions on its usage and coverage.

The simple answer is that it gives them quick access to free direct money transfers such as a number of other payment providers already offer for sending and receiving money, as well as making various everyday payments. Based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) – a unique Indian platform – it works much like the other e-banking services using UPI. Google Pay, PhonePe, and PayTM are probably the better-known ones but there are more than a dozen others. Linking a personal bank account allows the system to process fast and secure payments, free of charge.

The next step, however, is up to e-commerce companies and utility services to make. Offering WhatsApp as a payment option gives them a possibility to capitalise on the company’s huge user base in India and is, frankly, something many online businesses cannot afford to ignore. 

Initial Feedback on WhatsApp Pay User Experience

The user friendly function has already been widely reviewed over the first few weeks of its existence. The great benefit comes from the fact that it is an integrated service and not a separate App, conveniently tucked away as an extended functionality of your WhatsApp messenger.

Considering the widespread popularity of digital payments in India – through wallets, cards and direct UPI transfers – digital providers not only provide a service but often dictate market offers and compatibility options. Tech giants have gone beyond shopping: the next big wave has become paying for entertainment content and services. Digital payments have made it possible to access movies and games anywhere and anytime, and have become one of the favourite online casino payment methods. WhatsApp Pay is expected to contribute further with its smoothly integrated solution and improve the experience for millions. Thousands of casino players in India are enjoying gambling online at 10Cric, a casino that offers various casino payment options

WhatsApp Pay Coverage

While the User Interface (UI) remains intuitive and in line with the main App experience, it seems that the main emphasis is currently on money transfers between friends, family and peers on your contact list. Naturally, there are e-merchant and business payment options as well, through QR codes and payment requests.

Where WhatsApp Pay remains limited, for now, is bill payment. However, most tech experts have no doubt that the sheer popularity of the messaging service alone will make most public and private operators add it as an option. So far some regulations have limited its expected explosive growth. The RBI, together with the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI, the creator and operator of the UPI system), they have imposed an initial limit of 20 million WhatsApp users for the time being.

When the transition period is approved, the company will be able to expand further, observing a 30% cap on UPI transactions, imposed on other Third-Party-App providers as well. According to October 2020 data, PhonePe has just surpassed Google Pay as the leading Indian payment provider. Together, they hold more than 80% of the market share, coming far ahead of Paytm and Amazon Pay. However, the 30% cap will kick-in a year later for all of these providers as well, aimed at avoiding market monopolisation.

Despite an initial delay, WhatsApp Pay is bound to become pivotal in Facebook’s broader consumer acquisition strategy, definitely targeting a fully-fledged e-commerce experience from within the App.

Note - This is Brand Desk content.