WhatsApp payments start in Brazil
WhatsApp users in Brazil can now pay merchants through the app. WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook, has launched a new feature that allows users in Brazil to pay merchants directly through the app.
WhatsApp payments are part of the firm's efforts to expand its services beyond communication and become a platform for commerce and payments.
Brazil becomes the starting point for the WhatsApp payments
According to WhatsApp, users can pay for goods and services from participating businesses without leaving the app, using a six-digit PIN or fingerprint authentication. The payments are processed by Facebook Pay, the company's unified payment system that also works on Facebook and Instagram. Users can link their WhatsApp accounts to their credit or debit cards from Visa and Mastercard.
The company claims that this will help small businesses grow and reach more customers. WhatsApp also says that it plans to bring this feature to more countries in the future.
WhatsApp's move into payments is also part of a broader trend of messaging apps becoming more than just chat platforms. For example, WeChat offers a range of services such as e-commerce, gaming, social media, and mini-programs within the app. India's Paytm also integrates payments, e-commerce, and other services into its messaging app.
WhatsApp is not the first messaging app to offer payments in Brazil. In 2018, Tencent's WeChat launched a similar feature in partnership with Itaú Unibanco, one of Brazil's largest banks. However, WhatsApp has a much larger user base in Brazil, with more than 120 million active users as of 2019.
WhatsApp's payment feature could potentially create new opportunities for businesses and consumers in Brazil, as well as challenge existing players in the payments industry. However, WhatsApp may also face some regulatory hurdles and competition from other platforms. For instance, in June 2020, WhatsApp had to suspend its payment feature in Brazil shortly after launching it due to an order from the Central Bank of Brazil. The bank said that WhatsApp needed to obtain proper licenses and ensure interoperability with other payment systems.
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WhatsApp has since complied with the regulations and obtained approval from the Central Bank of Brazil to resume its payment feature in March 2021. However, WhatsApp may still face competition from PIX, a new instant payment system launched by the Central Bank of Brazil in November 2020. PIX allows users to make free transfers between different banks and platforms using QR codes or phone numbers.
WhatsApp's payment feature is an interesting development for the messaging app market and the payments industry in Brazil. It remains to be seen how users and merchants will adopt this feature and how it will impact the existing players in the market.Advertisement