WhatsApp To Partner With Banks To Enable Money Transfers

Posted July 12, 2017

Unified Payments Interface, the flagship digital payments instrument launched by the Reserve Bank of India, may have seen transactions rise over the past few months, but it has fallen short of its quarterly target by 35% as banks are not promoting the product. Such an integration is technologically possible but we are waiting for the RBI's approval. The company has completed its discussions with NPCI, which has in turn requested the Reserve Bank of India to consider Google's application, Hota said.

Confirming the approval extended to Whatsapp for UPI payments, NPCI's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer A P Hota is reported to have said, "We have permitted multi-bank partnership as Whatsapp did not want all transactions routed via one bank when payment loads are high".

Google is in advanced talks with NPCI to integrate Android Pay with UPI, and testing is already complete, if you go by NPCI's latest comment.

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Android Pay is a mobile wallet platform, which allows users to make payments online and at stores, and was launched during the Google I/O conference in 2015. Considering the fact that Android is a dominant operating system in India with the huge user base.

Hota did not provide a timeline as to by when WhatsApp payments would be live on UPI.

Hota told Mint that Facebook and WhatsApp have also initiated talks for the same. He also added that the debates are the preliminary stage for Facebook. Earlier, another mobile app Truecaller, had entered into a partnership with ICICI Bank for payments using UPI. Around the same time, Facebook also announced peer-to-peer payments through Messenger.

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If transactions do not accelerate in the next few months and the banks do not market the product, there is a real danger that the government's annual goal will be missed by a wide margin. Google and Whatsapp will join this league soon. Technically it is available, but RBI would have to take a holistic look. In a statement, Uber said, "As a technology driven company, we applaud the potential and impact that fin-tech innovations like UPI can make".

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is also keen to introduce peer-to-peer payments in India, which has over 200 million active users in the country. "UPI is the future of Indian payments and we are proud to be a partner in this monumental mission of the government to facilitate a digital payments led society", a spokesperson for Uber told Mint.

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