Facebook Mark Zuckerberg
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Facebook, the company that rules the world of social media as we know it, has been aching to transform into a fintech organisation, and yesterday’s announcement about WhatsApp’s payment system being approved by the NPCI goes a long way towards achieving that goal. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was visibly gleeful on the news, and praised the move, calling UPI “truly special.”

“I am excited to share today that WhatsApp has been approved to launch payments across India. So now you are gonna be able to easily send money to your friends and family through WhatsApp, just as easily as sending a message. There’s no fee, and it’s supported by more than a 140 banks. And because it’s WhatsApp, you know it’s secure and private too,” he said during a video address today.

He said that the system is built using India’s Unified Payments Interface “which makes it easy for anyone to instantly accept payments across different apps – and for companies to provide people with great services ”

The billionaire also praised UPI, noting that “With UPI, India has created something truly special, and is opening up a world of opportunities for micro and small businesses that are the backbone of the Indian economy.” He added that Facebook is glad that it is able to support this effort and move together to achieve a more digital India.

NPCI said that Whatsapp can build its UPI user base in a ‘graded manner’, starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million in the multi-bank model. However, the regulator has also placed a cap of 30% on the total volume of UPI transactions carried out on a third-party app. This means that no third party payments app that supports UPI, like PhonePe and Google Pay, would be allowed to process more than 30% of the overall UPI transactions on their platforms. While this is good for WhatsApp right now, over time, it can hurt the company, since it has 400 million users in the country, and stands the chance become the biggest player in the market.

WhatsApp had been testing this payments system for years now, always failing to get the nod of approval from NPCI. However, today, Zuckerberg notes that the company is working on (WhatsApp payment system) with the National Corporation of India, who oversee everything to to make sure it’s secure and reliable.

Last but not least, Zuckerberg said that “Payments is available now, in our 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp. All you need is a debit card that supports UPI and you are gonna be able to set it up right away. You are gonna be able to find it in the latest version of WhatsApp.”