Mumbai: WhatsApp’s Payments feature is now available to users across the country with support from banking partners State Bank of India, HDFC, ICICI and Axis Bank. WhatsApp designed its payments feature on National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system and was granted approvals to go live recently in November 2020 on a peer to peer (P2P) basis enabling people to transfer money securely and easily, quite like sending a message through WhatsApp.
Digital payments in India are expected to reach $94 trillion by FY25. The availability of WhatsApp Payments feature further adds impetus to the dynamic growth of digital transactions in India in line with the Government of India’s vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society. The combination of WhatsApp and UPI’s unique architecture aims to address some of the key challenges of today’s time, including increasing rural participation in the digital economy and delivering banking and financial services to those who have been bereft of access, so far.
Speaking about WhatsApp Payments’ teaming up with multiple banks, Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp, India said, “We’re excited and privileged to partner with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and AXIS Bank to bring simple and secure digital payments to WhatsApp users across India. UPI is a transformative service and we jointly have the opportunity to bring the benefits of our digital economy and financial inclusion to a large number of users who have not had full access to them before.”
State Bank of India (SBI), the largest commercial bank in the country, serves over 45 crore customers. With over 120 million UPI users, the Bank commands a 28 pc market share as a Remitter Bank, highest in the UPI ecosystem. SBI now also offers UPI services through the WhatsApp Payments, bringing the convenience of easy and instant mobile based payments.
Mr Bijith Bhaskar, Head - Digital Channels & Partnership, ICICI Bank said, “Banking on WhatsApp offers immense convenience to our customers as it allows them to bank seamlessly while they are on WhatsApp.
Keeping the convenience in mind, we introduced banking services on WhatsApp in April. The initiative helped our customers bank conveniently and remotely without visiting the branch during the pandemic.
We have seen an encouraging response from our customers. Over two million users have adopted banking services on WhatsApp in this short span. Now with WhatsApp Payments, there is a unique opportunity to scale essential financial services to people all over the country with ease.
We are delighted to partner with WhatsApp and wish them the very best. We look forward to continuing offering ease and convenience to our customers by providing them with a host of services through this partnership.”
“HDFC Bank is happy to be part of the launch by WhatsApp. We believe this is yet another important step toward achieving financial inclusion and making affordable financial services available to Indians. To achieve the goal of Digital India, a thriving ecosystem is needed, where different entities come together and work together, keeping the customers at the centre. And such partnerships will further fuel the economic growth and development of the Nation.
We, at the Bank, stand committed towards creating the necessary railroads to enable convenient access to financial products and services across the length and breadth of the country,” said Parag Rao, Country Head - Payments Business, Consumer Finance, Digital Banking & Marketing, HDFC Bank.
On the occasion, Sanjeev Moghe, EVP & Head - Cards & Payments, Axis Bank remarked, “We remain focused on accelerating the digital evolution of India’s financial services ecosystem. As a digital ally, WhatsApp has the potential to support our customers in a seamless manner through servicing, onboarding and managing grievances, all, on the same platform. We have been actively committed to enabling the drive towards a Digital India, and in this endeavour continuously work on innovation-led partnership models to offer digital banking solutions to customers. We will continue to innovate our offerings that are intuitive, valuable, affordable, efficient and are safer payments experience for the customers.”
WhatsApp, now offering enhanced value and support through its Payments feature is poised to unlock the digital potential and be the much-needed lever for India’s economy on its path to recovery.
These collaborations between the country’s apex banking organisations and WhatsApp Payments, enabled by UPI, aim to accelerate the adoption of the digital ecosystem to the unbanked, and drive Government of India’s agenda of building a more digitally enabled, financially inclusive and self-reliant Bharat. (UNI)