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WhatsApp plans to venture into digital payments space; India could be test bed

In February, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton had met IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss ways in which the company could contribute to India's vision for digital commerce.


By   |  Updated On : April 04, 2017 05:47 PM
Messaging app WhatsApp is planning to launch digital payment services starting with India. (Representational Image)

Messaging app WhatsApp is planning to launch digital payment services starting with India. (Representational Image)

New Delhi :  

Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp could soon venture into digital payment space services starting with India. The social media platform is also looking to hire a digital transactions head for the country. 

In February, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton had met IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss ways in which the company could contribute to India's vision for digital commerce. 

India is the biggest market for WhatsApp. Of its over one billion users, about 200 million are here. According to a job advertisement on WhatsApp's website, the company is looking for a candidate with technical and financial background, who also has an understanding of Unified Payments Interface (UPI), BHIM payments app and Aadhaar number.

Read | WhatsApp rolls out new feature; profile status to dazzle like snapchat’s ‘stories’ 

The job responsibilities would include collaboration with banks to resolve WhatsApp user issues and being "an advocate for the users of our digital transactions service to the rest of the company", it added. 

When contacted, a WhatsApp spokesperson said the company is keen to understand how it can contribute more to the vision of Digital India. 

"We're exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users," the spokesperson added.

Read | Whatsapp to let users edit sent messages, track recipient's location 

Following the government's move to ban old notes of Rs 500 and 1,000 in November last year, there has been a massive growth in digital transaction volumes in India, including credit/debit cards, mobile banking/m-wallets and UPI. 

WhatsApp has almost become the default messaging app for people in countries like India and Brazil. In India, it competes with the likes of Hike, Snapchat and Viber. 

The company had said it would focus on rolling out commercial messaging this year for businesses as it looks to tap into enterprises for monetising its platform. Last year, the app had stopped charging 1 dollar per year subscription fee to go completely free for users across the world. 

While WhatsApp does not intend to introduce any third-party ads for monetisation, it has said the company will test tools that allow users to communicate with businesses and organisations like banks and airlines through its platform.

Read  | WhatsApp rolls back 'Text Status' feature on Android; Video Status feature to stay intact

First Published: Tuesday, April 04, 2017 05:37 PM

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