WhatsApp partners with HDFC, ICICI to launch digital payment services

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Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : Facebook-owned WhatsApp has joined hands with HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank for introducing digital transaction process. The State Bank of India (SBI) will soon join the team once it gets ready with necessary systems, according to a reliable source.

For some time, Facebook was willing to partner with the four reputed Indian banks but for now it has decided to go ahead with three. Most people are comparing WhatsApp’s entry into digital payment space to that of WeChat which had reframed the payments process in China expanding the app beyond messaging.

A pilot version of WhatsApp Pay was launched in February with 1 million users and has received great reviews, threatening the market share of its rivals Google Tez and Paytm, both of which lacks  the benefits of a social networking.

“WhatsApp has a great starting point: a monopoly in chat,” said Vivek Belgavi, Leader for Financial Technology at PwC India. “High engagement makes it a credible competition.”

Record says that more than 200 million Indians use WhatsApp messaging which is equivalent to 60 percent of the US population and a daily active usage that Forrester Inc. estimates to be about 20 times higher than Paytm.

When WhatsApp first entered into the world of digital payments it got surrounded with controversies. Paytm's CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma had accused WhatsApp of trying to enter the market via unfair means.

Paytm founder raised the fact that WhatsApp’s trial service does not require a login session and Aadhaar-based payments. He mentioned that lack of a login in WhatsApp payments can offer security risk, likely to give an open ATM to everyone