On 8 February, Facebook-owned WhatsApp quietly launched the much-anticipated feature in India—person to person payments. To almost universal rave reviews. (The Ken originally broke the news of this being in the works back in April 2017).
Can’t get over how elegant @WhatsApp payments are. Stunning. And viral too. Have helped onboard 10 people at least by now. @nikhilkumarks @NPCI_BHIM – amazing work.
— Satyen V Kothari (@saty_77) February 13, 2018
Bloody hell just set up WhatsApp payments and sent @snegho money, all in less than 30 secs. Hands down best UX for P2P payments I've seen. If they're able to keep this just as fast and error free as they scale, all competitors need to be afraid, very afraid.
— Vinay Kesari (@vinaykesari) February 11, 2018
Whatsapp payments is going to fuck everyone else over. The reach is just incredible and it's damn easy to use.
— ᴍᴀᴅʜᴜ ᴍᴇɴᴏɴ (@madmanweb) February 11, 2018
It’s a seamless experience! WhatsApp UPI-based payments feature rolling out: Here's how you can start sending money WhatsApp users will be able to send money to other users from within the chat. https://t.co/sfYtsMejxi
— Amitabh Kant (@amitabhk87) February 11, 2018
“Payments opens up huge new data stream for Facebook,” said a senior executive of an e-commerce company who requested not to be named.
Transactional revenue from this is merely incidental for companies like WhatsApp. Because what’s more valuable is the financial transaction data that it suddenly has access to. (Sensitive details like account number and pin details are stored in the partner banks’ servers.)
Currently, WhatsApp is battling it out at the Supreme Court on the kind of data that it has shared with its parent, Facebook.
Facebook waited 17 months before adopting a radical new payments protocol and seems to have the best product out there. Against competitors like PhonePe (owned by Flipkart), Google’s Tez, Paytm*, and the Indian government-promoted BHIM.
Close to nearly a million of WhatsApp’s 270 million active Indian users have access to payments within their apps, said a source who is familiar with the rollout. It’s an incredible feat of engineering and marketing timing.
Or is it?
Okay, quiz time. Pick the right statement from those below. (Hint: Only one of them is correct.)
- Google’s UPI-based payments app Tez allows to only send money to those with a Gmail address or an Android phone
- Paytm users can transfer money using UPI only to other Paytm users
- Flipkart-owned PhonePe allows payments only to Flipkart users
- WhatsApp users can send money only to those who use WhatsApp and have enabled the payments feature within it
Do you have your answer?