Whatsapp has amassed huge popularity in India, apparent through its about 200 million active users in February of this year. Considering the familiarity and penetration of the app amid the lives of citizens in the country, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has reached out to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for integrating the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for peer to peer money transfer within the app itself.
In talks with ETTech, AP Hota, managing director of NPCI said that the company has shown initial interest only towards the usage of UPI and it might happen anytime soon. Taking into account, the prevalence of the UPI-based payment solutions in the current scenario; this might be the very first monetization bet for WhatsApp from the world’s second largest populated country.
The high adoption rate of this peer to peer fund transfer system (currently under the limelight) is visible through data published by the Reserve Bank of India. UPI has registered about 49 lakh transactions for March and the total amount transferred stands at Rs. 1970 crore for the month. Moreover, our Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoting the system through the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app adds to its fame.
This might be a welcoming trend in India as no other standalone messaging app has been able to provide money transfer services to its users as of yet. Although many messaging apps offer such money transfer services in foreign lands, the Indian bankers are concerned about the security and safety of such transactions.
Speaking in a similar context, AP Hota said,
Financial services can happen on WhatsApp but the level of security needs to change. It is too convenient for different modes of financial services, Can sending money be made as easy as sending WhatsApp messages?
Contrarily, we can say that netizens here still need to work on adoption of features offered by an app, as well as improve the way we handle digital transactions. Most of the users either skip steps impatiently or repeatedly execute similar mistakes. If the money transfers are soon enabled on WhatsApp, instead of helping the users, it might become a new scam for looting people. This is, however just a calculated guess as each technology comes with its own quirks.
In addition, Bankers aware of the matter said,
These are still very early stages, we will have to find out how it can be implemented in the future.
Although the UPI system, promoted by the Reserve Bank of India and implemented by NPCI, comes packed with a various level of securities; the major concern here lies in the ease of transactions.