WhatsApp launches paymentsMobile wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik and Airtel Money are in for some serious competition. WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) has launched a payments feature, allowing users to send and receive payments. The company initially launched a beta version of this feature that was only available to a few users. The full-fledged version has now been launched. WhatsApp has over 250 million users in India.

However, the current version does not support payments to merchants (such as shops, utilities or restaurants). You are also restricted to the mobile app for payments and cannot use the Whatsapp web version for this.

Using UPI Tech

WhatsApp uses the government’s Unique Payments Interface (UPI) technology for its payments. You need to have previously downloaded a UPI app and linked it to a bank account, to use the payments feature on WhatsApp.

UPI allows transfer of money between two bank accounts without the hassle of typing account numbers and IFSC codes or net banking passwords. You simply need to download a UPI app, verify your phone number and create a virtual UPI ID on it (something like rahul@icici).

This ID serves as a substitute for various fields that you fill on net banking such as account number, IFSC, address and so on. It thus saves you the need of giving out your personal information for payments and protects your privacy.

Any UPI app can be linked with any bank account

You can download the UPI app of any bank (such as ICICI Bank or SBI) or provider (Google Tez) from the Play Store/App store and link it with any bank account of yours. For instance, you can link the ICICI Bank UPI App with your Axis Bank account or with Google Tez. You can also link a UPI App to multiple accounts.

How to set up payments on Whatsapp

  • Simply go to Settings> Payments and verify your mobile number.
  • Whatsapp will ask you to select your bank from a list of banks
  • The app will automatically fetch the bank account you’ve previously enabled UPI on. The number you’ve linked to your bank account must be the same as your Whatsapp number.
  • Select the account and you are good to go.

To send and receive payments, simply select a user from your WhatsApp contacts or even from a group. However, you cannot transfer unless they have also the payments feature on their WhatsApp.

Neil Borate

Neil Borate is Deputy Editor, RupeeIQ. He can be contacted at neil@rupeeiq.com.