WhatsApp is bolstering its commerce capabilities in India, its largest market globally, by enabling new payment options within the app. The Meta-owned messaging platform announced on Wednesday that it has partnered with payment gateways PayU and Razorpay to facilitate payments via credit and debit cards, net banking, and all UPI apps.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta, said, “This is going to make it even easier for people to pay Indian businesses within a WhatsApp chat using whatever method they prefer.” The announcement was made at Meta’s Conversations 2023 event in Mumbai. This addition builds upon WhatsApp’s previous integration of payment features in Singapore and Brazil earlier this year.
The feature is accessible to all businesses using the WhatsApp Business platform in India. According to a company blog post, “Starting today, people in India can add items to their cart and make payments through all UPI apps running in India, through any of their preferred methods like debit and credit cards. We’re glad to partner with Razorpay and PayU to make paying for anything as easy as sending a message.”
The South Asian market, with over 500 million active WhatsApp users, has been a focal point for Meta. Although the platform launched its UPI-based WhatsApp Pay in 2020 and expanded it to 100 million users in India last year, it still competes fiercely with established players like Google Pay, PhonePe, and Paytm.
The new payment functionalities aren’t just aimed at simplifying transactions for customers; they’re part of a broader strategy to facilitate business engagement. This move aligns with Zuckerberg’s vision that business messaging will become the “next major pillar” for Meta’s sales growth.
A WhatsApp spokesperson noted, “While WhatsApp Pay users will remain capped in India, there is no such limit on the number of users permitted to transact with businesses on WhatsApp using the other methods.”
The payment feature expansion comes on the heels of Meta’s announcement of its global Meta Verified subscription program for businesses. This program aims to offer verified badges, enhanced account support, and impersonation protection to businesses across platforms, further adding credibility to commercial activities.
This strategic move is part of WhatsApp’s continuing efforts to diversify its revenue streams, especially since the platform doesn’t charge users for subscriptions and has no plans to include ads in chats. WhatsApp aims to enrich the in-app shopping experience through a feature called ‘Flows,’ enabling users to complete various tasks like seat selection on flights or appointment bookings, directly from the app.