WhatsApp plans to take on Apple Pay Cash with a peer-to-peer payments system of its own.
Powered by UPI, the service is expected to rollout to users as early as next week following a beta test. It could launch with just three banking partners initially as WhatsApp races to compete with rival payments services.
WhatsApp’s peer-to-peer payments system has been available to a small number of Android users for some time now. Just like Apple Pay Cash, the feature allows WhatsApp members to securely send cash back and forth using a connected bank account.
The messaging platform was waiting to secure a fourth banking partner before a wider rollout, according to reports. However, with rivals services “racing ahead,” WhatsApp plans to launch the service next week with only HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank on board.
SBI is expected to join the roster later once the service is properly up and running.
WhatsApp payments imminent
With more than 1.5 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp’s payments system could be a huge success. Rivals like Paytm have grown quickly, with 200 million users signed up as of February this year, so it makes sense that WhatsApp wants to get involved as soon as possible.
Of course, the service, which is owned by Facebook, will need to ensure a smooth user experience that makes mobile payment transfers easy. The ability to connect directly to your bank account plays a big part in that, but its list of banking partners is small for now.
Apple Pay Cash has a significantly larger list of partners, but it’s still only available to those in the U.S. for now.