WhatsApp Pay has finally been given regulatory approval by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), according to a report by Business Standard. The approval comes after nearly two years of WhatsApp holding an invitation-only trial run for the in-app payments service in India, and follows the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s approval for the app that was reportedly issued recently. WhatsApp so far struggled to get regulatory approval for operating its payments interface due to issues with data localisation, but has reportedly agreed to comply with the government’s requirement for digital payments firms to store all critical data locally, within India.
According to reports, the public rollout of WhatsApp Pay will take place in phases, which is apparently due to its large number of users in India. Back in July 2019, WhatsApp was reported to have over 400 million monthly active users in India. With reports of compliance with Indian data localisation norms, WhatsApp is expected to take time to localise its financial transaction data, and as a result, WhatsApp Pay is scheduled to roll out in phases.
The first phase of the rollout will reportedly involve 10 million users in India. News18 independently confirmed this development, and found that new users can sign up now on WhatsApp Pay. However, the sign-up period will likely be limited, and is expected to close before reopening again at a later stage. If you are interested in using WhatsApp’s UPI-based payments service, here’s how you can go about it:
- On WhatsApp, tap on the attachment button inside a chat window. All Android and iOS users should see a ‘Payments’ option.
- Tap on this, and new users will be prompted to accept the terms and conditions of the service.
- After agreeing to this, users will be taken to the UPI registration screen. This process will follow the same process of authentication as any existing UPI payments app.
- For first-time UPI users, you will be prompted to select your bank, following which your phone number will be validated. You will then be prompted to choose your UPI ID, and set an UPI PIN as mandated by your bank.
- Once this entire setup is complete, users will be able to invite others by sending a payment request to those who do not have the service yet. Alternately, transactions can be made to existing WhatsApp Pay users.