WhatsApp has reportedly been hard at work trying to integrate its own UPI digital payments platform for a while now. The first concrete proof of this has now emerged in the form of a screenshot from its Android beta version.
It seems WhatsApp for Android beta version 2.17.285 has a hidden WhatsApp Payments window lurking deep within. WABetaInfo claims the service is still under development. For now, the page reveals that it will allow for immediate bank to bank transfer via UPI.
Users will have to accept WhatsApp’s terms and conditions to try it out. Nothing more is known at this stage, but a previous report by The Ken had claimed that the company was in talks with the government to implement the platform and roll it out within 6 months. That was back in April, so the new screenshot ties in nicely with that timeline.
WhatsApp apparently chose UPI to piggyback its payments platform on because it though other methods might hamper user experience. UPI is relatively simple compared to other transfer systems. Moreover, it seemingly toyed with the idea of launching a virtual wallet, but ultimately decided against it because of the RBI’s draft guidelines.
Virtual money transfers got a big boost post demonetization, with apps like Paytm and MobiKwik benefiting the most. WhatsApp’s entry into the sector will likely have a big impact given how popular the application is in India. The idea of sending money through the app will likely appeal to people who would like the convenience of just handing over money without having to quit a conversation.