It appears that for WhatsApp a new, important era is beginning. According to recent rumours, the Facebook-owned instant messaging app will introduce in the next six months a new peer-to-peer feature that will allow WhatsApp users digital payments.
We know that the app is used all over the world and has currently more than one billion active users, but the test will start from India. News website The Ken reported on Tuesday these rumours, stating that the app is working to launch person-to-person payments in India in the next six months, unfortunately without citing the sources of the information.
But why would the American company want to launch this new feature in India before that in any other country? Because the country is its biggest market, with about 200 million users. The company has not yet confirmed (or denied) these reports, but on WhatsApp’s website has been posted a particular job advertisement.
The post says that the Company is looking for an individual who can understand and explain India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and the BHIM payments app that enable money transfers and merchant payments using mobile numbers, a candidate that can also collaborate with banks to resolve WhatsApp user issues.
Brian Acton, WhatsApp’s co-founder, in February told local media that he had talked to the Indian government about the intention to investigate digital payments in the country. Following this statement, recently a WhatsApp’s spokeperson said that “India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India,” adding that “We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users,”.
WhatsApp is not the first app that has thought about India to start this new feature. Truecaller, a Swedish communications app which has many users in India, last week started a mobile payment service based on the UPI platform.