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WhatsApp Pay Explained: How to set it up, how to send and receive money, how it works and other questions answered

In a decision that will have a huge impact on India’s payments space, NPCI has allowed WhatsApp to go live on its United Payments Interface.

November 07, 2020 / 07:26 AM IST

You use it to stay in touch with family, friends and work and now WhatsApp will also allow you to make payments, which the company said will be as easy as forwarding a message.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), India’s flagship payments processor, on November 5 allowed Facebook-owned WhatsApp to go live on its United Payments Interface (UPI).

With more than 400 million active users, India is the biggest market for WhatsApp and its entry into the payments space is bound to have a huge impact on the country’s digital payments landscape. To begin with, WhatsApp Pay can expand its UPI base with a maximum of 20 million users, the NPCI has said.

Here are answers to some essential questions that might be on your mind:

How can I get started with WhatsApp Payments and how do I send and receive money?

WhatsApp Payments runs on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform. It allows users to transfer money instantly, directly between bank accounts. There is no need to create a wallet separately.

All you need is a debit card, open WhatsApp, click on 'Payments' in the attachment segment, authenticate yourself with the debit card number, create a UPI handle and generate a UPI pin. That’s it and you are good to go. Do remember the card that you use, as future transactions will happen from that bank account.


Also read: WhatsApp Pay goes live on UPI; available in 10 regional languages

When can I get started?

If you are among the one million users who signed up for the beta-testing app, you are already on. Others can sign up from November 6.

Also read: As WhatsApp Pay goes live, Mark Zuckerberg says India has created something 'truly special' with UPI

How does it work?

Get on to the chat window with the person whom you need to transfer money to. Click on ‘attachments’, select ‘payments’, enter the amount to be transferred and authenticate using the UPI pin.

Just make sure that the receiver has updated the app to receive UPI payments.

Even if the receiver does not use WhatsApp Payments, you can still send money to any UPI ID the person might have, as UPI is interoperable.

What are the other UPI IDs that one can have?

Anything will work whether it is with Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm, or any of the 189 banks that can issue UPI handles. Typically a user’s UPI ID is designed like an email ID: unique identifier@bank handle. UPI is a direct settlement between bank accounts and does not require a separate mobile wallet to be created.

Also Read: Explainer: WhatsApp Payments goes live in India, what does this mean for the ecosystem? 

Which are the banks WhatsApp is working with?

Consumers having an account with any of the 189 banks can use UPI. WhatsApp is working with five banks—State Bank of India, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Jio Payments Bank—and will issue handles with any one of these banks.

How will the 20-million user limit work?

One million people are already using WhatsApp Payments, for them it will continue normally. Now 19 million new users can join the platform. Once the 20 million limit is reached, WhatsApp will have to stop onboarding new users. However, NPCI is expected to extend the limit after due consideration.

Can I use WhatsApp to shop on Amazon or Flipkart?

Yes, one can use the WhatsApp payment handle to shop as well but, as of now, these integrations are not there. Eventually, WhatsApp Payments, like GPay, will be seen as a payment option during checkout.
Pratik Bhakta
ISO 27001 - BSI Assurance Mark