WhatsApp has suggested that its payment service should be available to some businesses in India by the end of this year.
As one of the world’s biggest messaging services, all eyes have been on WhatsApp and its owner Facebook to see if it will add a payment function to its service. The company has said it will launch later this year and the market has been speculating as to how it will impact industry globally.
Speaking to The Economic Times, WhatsApp confirmed that it was working towards a date this year to launch the service for WhatsApp for Business users in India, at least.
Abhijit Bose, head of WhatsApp India, told the publication: “We hope to offer the service by the end of the year. Our goal is to enable end-to-end communication cycle between small businesses and customers. Payment is just one more step in how businesses interact with users.”
“We look at it more from how to enable small businesses to complete their transaction more seamlessly, become more efficient, increase their sales. And, of course, payment allows that last leg to be completed in a seamless way. A lot of the communication is already happening on WhatsApp,” he added.
India has been a key focus area for product development and localisation for WhatsApp, as tech companies vie to gain early market share in the world’s biggest democracy. eMarketer stated last year that India was the world’s fastest-growing payments market, but that the market was dominated currently by brands such as Paytm.
According to Pew Internet, around 70% of adults in India own a phone, in a country with 1.3bn people.
WhatsApp has been active in India in the fight against fake news, which, in a country that is led by mobile phones, has been particularly driven by messaging services like WhatsApp. The company has launched campaigns around the country to help educate people on how to trust information sent by others on its platform.