WhatsApp chief writes to RBI on payment services expansion

New Delhi: WhatsApp chief has written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), seeking a formal nod to expand payments services to all of its 200 million users in India.

WhatsApp is currently piloting WhatsApp payments, and its chief Chris Daniels has now written to the RBI urging that a formal approval be granted to take the payments product to all its users in the country.

“I write to request your formal approval to immediately expand WhatsApp’s BHIM UPI (Unified Payments Interface) compliant payments product to all users in India, giving us the opportunity to offer a useful and secure service that can improve the lives of Indian people through digital empowerment and financial inclusion,” Daniels said in the letter addressed to the RBI Governor.

“Today, almost one million people are testing WhatsApp payments in India. The feedback has been very positive, and people enjoy the convenience of sending money as simply and securely as sending messages,” the company’s spokesperson has said.

The development comes at a time when competitors such as Google have forged ahead with their payments offerings. The letter, dated 5 November, mentions that WhatsApp’s partner banks have also submitted a request for formal approval.

The messaging app, which has drawn fire from the government over spread of fake messages on its platform, continues to wait for a regulatory clearance to launch full-fledged payments operations in India – months after its “testing” amassed nearly one million users, and almost two years since it first began discussions with the government on its payments services plans.

NT Bureau