Facebook Pay launched in the US; WhatsApp Pay coming to India next?

Before WhatsApp Pay finally arrives in India, Facebook has launched its own payment system beginning with users in the US that will work across its app ecosystem -- Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Currently, Facebook Pay can be used for fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases from select Pages and businesses on Facebook Marketplace. Facebook Pay supports most major credit and debit cards as well as PayPal.

This facility, however, is different from WhatsApp Pay which has exclusively being planned in India and is expected to be announced soon once the country's regulatory demands are met.

The peer-to-peer, UPI-based WhatsApp Pay service will reach over 400 million users -- especially the small and medium businesses (SMBs) -- to boost digital inclusion in the country.

Facebook is inching closer to launch WhatsApp Pay in India and will soon have positive news to share, the social networking platform's CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on October 30.

"We have our test going in India. The test really shows that a lot of people are going to want to use this product. We're very optimistic that we're going to be able to launch to everyone in India soon, but of course will share more news when we have that," Zuckerberg told analysts over the earnings call.

"We differentiate between payment systems that are built on top of the existing financial infrastructure like what we're trying to do with WhatsApp payments or when we make payments in Instagram Shopping, and our work with something like Libra that is trying to build some new technological infrastructure for financial services," Zuckerberg elaborated.

However, the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have expressed concerns over some of WhatsApp's features in complying with the regulations.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said if WhatsApp meets the regulatory norms from RBI and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), then it should be allowed to start digital payment operations in the country.

According to a report by Omidyar Network and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), nearly half of MSME owners with annual business revenue between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 75 crore would use WhatsApp Pay once it is fully rolled out.

WhatsApp had earlier said it had built a local system to store payments-related data within the country but the RBI, in a later affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, said that WhatsApp Pay is yet to comply with its data localisation norms.



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