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WhatsApp’s UPI-enabled payment service is still in beta and available only to a few

WhatsApp aims to break into the fast-growing payment space in India

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has allowed WhatsApp to launch its payment service, which is currently in beta phase, and available only to a limited number of users - one million only - and with a low per transaction limit. The governing body for retail payment operations in India said that the service, with all its features, will be made available to everybody after it clears the beta test. WhatsApp will allow its users to send and receive money to/from their WhatsApp contacts through the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) – one of the latest developments in digital payments.

If you are one of 430 million people who use WhatsApp in India, this is how you can start using the new payment service.

Related: New RBI mandate says customers must update KYC formalities for e-wallets

 

How to use WhatsApp payment

To enable this payment service, you need to link your mobile number to your bank account. You can visit your bank’s nearest branch to complete the process.

  • Open a chat and select the attachment option. Now, tap on the payment option (with the rupee symbol).
  • After you enter your mobile number, you’ll receive a One Time Password (OTP) from WhatsApp. Enter the OTP to continue.

If you are using UPI for the first time, you’ll be asked to create a 4 or 6-digit Mobile banking Personal Identification Number (MPIN). This number serves as a password for all your transactions.

  • After you enter your MPIN, you will be able to see a list of banks. Tap on your bank’s name.
  • Enter your card’s last 6 digits and its validity to verify your bank account and start transacting.

Related: How digital payment methods are changing the face of the Indian economy

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New player in the market

Currently, the payment feature is available only for the latest Android version and supports several banks, including Airtel Payments Bank, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, and Yes Bank.

Deemed to be one of the most popular messaging apps in India, Facebook-owned WhatsApp will compete with apps that provide only payment services, such as Paytm, and is expected to add a considerable number of users to the digital payments market.

Related: Countries that have moved to digital payments [Infographic]

Previously, Paytm’s founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma made a slew of allegations about WhatsApp payment not following the UPI guidelines. He said that Whatsapp's payment service didn't have the 'interoperabilty' that every UPI-based platform promises to provide. This, in turn, he said, raised security issues for those using the payment service. In response to this allegation, NPCI allowed WhatsApp to make its payment service available to a limited number of users - 1 million - and with a low per transaction limit. But all WhatsApp users can expect to have this service available to them soon.

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