WhatsApp has been allowed to add 60 million users to its UPI-based payments service WhatsApp Pay.
According to Reuters, WhatsApp, a company owned by Meta Platforms (banned and recognized as extremist in the Russian Federation), has won regulatory approval to more than double the number of users of its payments service in India to 100 million.
For years, WhatsApp has been pushing the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to remove the cap on users of its payments service in India, its biggest market.
Instead, the NPCI told the company on Wednesday it can increase the number of users to 100 million from 40 million currently, the sources said.
As a result of this clearance from NPCI, WhatsApp will be able to take on heavyweight rivals such as Walmart-backed PhonePe and Google Pay, which command a majority of the transactions that happen on UPI.
UPI (United Payments Interface) is a system that allows users to debit their bank accounts directly through an email address.
However, the NPCI has ensured that WhatsApp’s ability to skew the level-playing field is limited given that the messaging app has over 500 million users and granting it permission to offer UPI service to all the users at once could impact competition.
The NPCI gave WhatsApp approval to launch the payments service in 2020 after the company spent years trying to comply with Indian regulations, including data storage norms that require all payments-related data to be stored locally. It started with 20 million users and the cap was increased to 40 million in November last year.
In March, WhatsApp Pay accounted for only 0.05 per cent of UPI transactions translating to 2.54 million transactions. In comparison, PhonePe, the leader in the space, recorded 2.5 billion transactions in the same month followed by Google Pay with 1.8 billion UPI transactions.
Source: The Indian Express