With a boost to increase its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) user base to 100 million, WhatsApp India's director of payments Manesh Mahatme has said that the company has planned significant investments for payments on WhatsApp.
On April 13, the National Payments Corporation of India's (NPCI) approved an additional 60 million UPI users for the Meta-owned instant messaging platform, bringing the total cap to 100 million.
Mahatme said in a statement, "We welcome this approval and thank NPCI for the increase in our cap to 100 million. Since our initial approval from NPCI, we have been working to deliver a simple, reliable and secure experience for WhatsApp users that we hope will accelerate adoption of UPI for the next five hundred million Indians."
"As part of this road map, we have planned significant investments in ‘payments on WhatsApp’ across India including – “India-first” features and focus on creating awareness and driving adoption among our users," he added.
NPCI, which operates the country’s retail payment and settlement systems, had allowed WhatsApp to start payment services in November 2020 with a cap of 20 million users. The Meta-owned company was expected to disrupt the payments space with its large user base in India, but it had not taken off in a big way.
WhatsApp’s messenger service has over 400 million users in India and an increase in user base can shift the scales among UPI apps if the company is successful in moving users to its platform for payments.UPI recently breached the $1 trillion mark in transaction values for the financial year 2021-22, a major milestone for the payments system which has witnessed substantial growth over the past two years and led to further digital adoption for payments and financial services.
"UPI has been an unquestioned success, and we believe there is an opportunity for UPI to have even greater impact for the country -- especially in rural regions where digital and financial inclusion can significantly improve people's lives. We believe that ‘payments on WhatsApp’ can be a key partner to NPCI and RBI as we all aim to scale adoption of UPI and financial inclusion to those most in need," Mahatme said.
Currently, WhatsApp's share in monthly UPI volumes stands only at 0.04 percent as per data by NPCI for the month of March, far behind the 47 percent share of PhonePe and Google Pay's 35 percent.
The platform saw 2.54 million transactions in the month, amounting to Rs 239.74 crore, a minuscule share of the total monthly volumes of over 5,400 million amounting to Rs 9.60 lakh crore.
Now, WhatsApp has decided to ramp up efforts to expand the payment service and wants more users.
As part of this drive, the company made the payment service more visible by featuring the rupee icon in the chat composer, between the attachment and the camera icons. It allowed the camera icon on the WhatsApp home screen to be used to scan QR codes and make payments across 20 million stores in India.