Is WhatsApp exploring digital payments?

Whatsapp on a phone

WhatsApp may be about to test peer to peer payments among 200 million users, according to reports.

A report from Indian publication The Ken (via TechCrunch) claims that "Whatsapp plan[s] to use UPI, a cross-bank payment system backed by the government, to begin [to] enable payments between users within the next six months." The trial would take place in India, where WhatsApp users number 200 million.

A job posting on the WhatsApp website showed a vacancy for a "Digital Transactions Lead, India", where responsibilities include to "collaborate with banks to resolve WhatsApp user issues" and "Help scale global support for digital transactions on WhatsApp".

Facebook already allows you to transfer money via the Messenger and now has set its sights on bringing the service to WhatsApp's reported 1.2 billion global users but will apparently test the service out in India first.

Digital payments are reportedly on the rise in India due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to withdraw a number of banknotes last November and the government is encouraging digital payment services as well. Swedish app Truecaller has its eye on the market too as it launched a mobile payment service in the country last week.

India has attracted other companies too, with Apple recently saying it would start iPhone production in India.

IT Pro has approached WhatsApp for comment.

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.