Facebooks’ largest acquisition and one of the largest tech acquisition till date-WhatsApp. The social messaging app which provides users ease of access to register with their phone numbers and send messages for free has launched another feature called WhatsApp pay. This follows its launch of WhatsApp business in 2018. The new feature allows for interbank transfer of funds severing the need to use a preloaded wallet before transfers.
Earlier this year at an earnings conference call Mark Zuckerberg said “One example that we’ve been working on is WhatsApp Payments where you’re going to be able to send money as quickly and easily as sending a photo”. True to his word Whatsapp pay has been launched in India after an initial testing phase in 2018 and Brazil both in May this year. However, it is expected to come onboard in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States and hopefully Nigeria very soon.
WhatsApp with a worldwide subscriber base of over 2 billion, has over 400 million active subscribers in India.
A 2018 test run of the system in India recorded that users were prone to use this payment feature often. A characteristic which is ubiquitous to WhatsApp. WhatsApp Pay in India uses a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) based system. This allows the transfer of money and the sorting out of business transactions directly with bank accounts at no extra-cost.
Brazil has over 120 million subscribers to WhatsApp, making her relatively whatsApps second largest subscriber base.
WhatsApp pay for Brazil was launched in May 2020 and it is currently supported by debit, credit, and combo cards from the following banks and card networks: Banco de Brasil (Visa), Nubank (Mastercard), Sicredi (Mastercard, Visa), Woop, digital arm of Sicredi (Visa)
Nigeria has seen a steady rise in the influence of WhatsApp.
Nigeria boasts of over 24 million social media users with well over 85% of this 24 million using WhatsApp. Furthermore, its usage in Nigeria has ranged from activities such as exchanging chat messages, images, files with acquaintances to online learning and showcasing businesses. Although, WhatsApps newest feature is yet to hit the Nigerian market/social media space, indications and market trends show it would be a good move for the tech giant.
As with everything WhatsApp the payment function is easy to set up and utilize.
First: The user phone number is verified via SMS and configured to the users bank via an in-app feature.
Next: Transfer and receive money using the paperclip icon which enables picture, files, contacts and the pay icon.
End to end encryption, two step verification and other security measures are already in place to ensure that this feature is secure and free from fraudsters.
Facebook-WhatsApp has shown there is no end to their ingenuity and reach as they keep their features relevant and largely free for customers. This keeps customers heavily reliant on their services, thereby serving as a sure-fire way to keep them coming back. Moreover, Big tech paying apps such as Google pay, Paytm are set to face stiff competition with the new kid on the block.
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