WhatsApp may be planning to significantly increase its payment ambitions. The hugely successful chat app already has ambitious plans to bring point-to-point transactions to allow users to send money to each other without leaving WhatsApp, but now it also wants to lend the service. Yes, really.
Like the ability to send money to friends and family in chat windows or group conversations, this new feature will be limited to India. The new feature was discovered in a recent regulatory filing that says the Facebook-owned company would like to "advance money or give credit on terms that may seem convenient, and with or without security, to customers and others".
Due to regulations, WhatsApp will not be able to grant loans on its own – so it will need to partner with existing banking companies to execute this crazy new idea. Being able to complete the application within WhatsApp can facilitate quick access to money when you need it.
Earlier this month, Facebook invested $ 5.9 billion in Reliance Jio, India's leading operator. As part of that agreement, a pilot program to allow people to buy groceries on WhatsApp. And previous reports suggest that Jio is one of the companies looking to help WhatsApp bring its consumer loan business to the chat app.
WhatsApp is now used by two billion users worldwide. However, India is a crucial market for the chat app.
Last year, WhatsApp announced that it had accumulated 400 million monthly users in India. Given that previous research suggests that there are only 450 million smartphone users in the country – it's clear how ubiquitous the messaging service has become.
WhatsApp started for the first time to test the ability to send money within the messenger in 2018. However, the update hit several regulatory restrictions during its development, which delayed the original release date scheduled for late last year.
In February, it was claimed that WhatsApp would launch payments to 10 million users as part of its next testing phase. However, Facebook India chief Ajit Mohan confirmed in an interview with TechCrunch in April, its user base for payments is still a million.
According to Credit Suisse, the Indian digital payments market will be worth $ 1 trillion in 2023. So you don't need a master's degree to find out why WhatsApp is so desperate to get a solid grip on that market with future updates.