Popular messaging app WhatsApp has obtained consent from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to make an entry into partnership with several banks to let users to make in-app payments and money transfers using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
The UPI facilitates account-to-account transfers from a mobile app devoid of having any details of the beneficiary's bank.
A.P Hota, MD and CEO, NPCI, confirmed that WhatsApp has got a nod from the apex payments institution. It’s been a while since Facebook-owned WhatsApp had been in talks with banks. Also, the procedure of approval for multi-bank partnership could put its payments business ambition on a fast track. Some of the banks WhatsApp is in talks with are Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and Punjab National Bank, among others.
Well, this is the first time that NPCI, an umbrella organization for all retail payment systems in India, has accepted a mobile app to come in into multi-bank partnerships."Players like WhatsApp and Google are very large in size and thus partnering with multiple banks makes sense to ensure a smooth payments process. Google is now awaiting the Reserve Bank of India's approval to go live on UPI," said Hota.
According to Hota, other online giants like Amazon and Uber are also in concluding stages of testing before allowing the customers to make payments using UPI. While, players like Flipkart and some other e-commerce companies have already started accepting UPI payments. Prior to this, Truecaller app had also made an entry into a partnership with ICICI Bank for payments using UPI.
Hota said, "We have permitted multi-bank partnership as WhatsApp did not want all transactions routed via one bank when payment loads are high." Hota did not provide a timeline as to by when WhatsApp payments would be live on UPI.
An email sent by TOI to a spokesperson for WhatsApp did not draw out an answer till the time of going to print.