WhatsApp Pay receives green signal in India, but with a limit of 20 million users
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced today that WhatsApp can go ahead with the launch of WhatsApp Pay in India. The company will be allowed to deploy on a “graduated” basis, the NPCI said, and will first be allowed to do so with a maximum of 20 million registered UPI users. For comparison, PhonePe recently announced that it has hit the 250 million user mark. Prior to this, the NPCI also announced that third-party apps like these will be limited to a maximum of 30 percent of all future transactions, starting in January 2021.
Is transaction fee limit will impact more strongly Google payment and PhonePe, which account for 40 percent of UPI transactions in India, according to a recent report.
Recently, the Competition Commission of India (ICC) fired a case against WhatsApp from Facebook, saying the company has not abused its dominant position to expand into the country’s digital payments market. In its order in august, the ICC said it found no contravention of antitrust laws, adding that “the company’s actual conduct has not yet manifested itself in the marketplace,” as it has not yet fully launched the service.
Pay by WhatsApp expected to be launched in India much earlier, a the announcement was expected around Diwali last year, and many feared that the company’s 400 million user base at the time would give it an unfair advantage.
Earlier this year, a report suggested that WhatsApp Pay would launch in May with three benches on board, but the permits had not been received. Now, with NPCI’s green signal, the messaging platform can expand its payments operations in India, but it will still see a relatively small limit on the number of users it can register, compared to the market leaders in India.