WhatsApp Digital Payment Service Launched By Facebook

The growing popularity of mobile payments app in many of the emerging economies of the world has drawn rte attention of many tech companies. One such firms, the social media giant Facebook which had announced previously its plans to launch a mobile based payment service through its social media messaging app WhatsApp.

The company has now launched the app through WhatsApp in Brazil as a part of that plan and with an eye to tap into the emerging market trend.

Analysts view this move by WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook is a part of its greater agenda of bringing in more e-commerce activities and options on its social media platforms.

Users of WhatsApp will be allowed to send money to one another for free and/or to make purchases from small businesses using the WhatsApp Pay services.

The company’s plans to offer the service in India, Indonesia and Mexico were announced by Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in January.

The launch of the WhatsApp Pay was described as a move which was a part of bigger plans of the company to bring in digital payment services across all of Facebook’s platforms, said WhatsApp on its blog.

“Because payments on WhatsApp are enabled by Facebook Pay, in the future we want to make it possible for people and businesses to use the same card information across Facebook’s family of apps.”

The blog stated that small businesses will have to pay a “processing fee to receive customer payments,” even though the company has kept person-to-person payments over WhatsApp Pay absolutely free.

Whit a total number of WhatsApp users at 120 million, Brazil is eh second largest market for the social media messaging app platform after India.

In the Indian market, where there are 400 million WhatsApp users, the company has lagged behind in the mobile and digital payment space in the market. One of the factors is the holding up of the company’s plans to launch WhatsApp Pay in India by regulators of the country.

Facebook had bought a 10 per cent stake in Indian telecoms group Reliance Jio for $5.7bn, the company had announced in April. Trough that deal, the social media giant has been able to gain a very powerful ally in Reliance Jio’s chairman Mukesh Ambani, the richest man of Asia. The focus of the two companies is to forge a partnership with JioMart, Jio’s newly-launched e-commerce platform.

An undisclosed amount in Indonesia-based ride-hailing app Gojek was invested by Facebook last month. This partnership will be used by the US firm to expand the scope and reach of GoPay, Gojek’s digital payments service.

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014 for about $20 billion.  There were more than 2 billion active users of the service globally as of February this year.

(Adapted from BBC.com)

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