WhatsApp‘s payment program has been stuck in the testing phase in India for quite a while now. But, the wait might finally be over. The company‘s global head, Will Cathcart, said the UPI-based payment service will officially launch in the country by the end of 2019.
Speaking at an event in New Delhi, Cathcart said, “to boost digital inclusion in India, we can launch the (Pay) service across the country later this year after meeting regulations.”
Last February the company started testing the service and in June, it said the test had a million users. After the test launch, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of India’s leading eWallet company Paytm, said WhatsApp is killing the “beautiful open UPI system” by not allowing users to make cross-app transactions.
However, its road to the official launch hit a dead end when the government asked the company to form a team and set up an office in India.
During his current visit, Cathcart will meet officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and National Payment Council of India (NPCI) to resolve the remaining differences and launch the payment service. A Bloomberg report published last week suggested the company was ready to submit its data-related audits to RBI and speed up the launch.
With over 400 million users already using WhatsApp in India, its payment service can grow rapidly with minimal onboarding effort. We’ll keep you updated about the launch.