WhatsApp launches digital payments, starting in Brazil

Tuesday 16 June 2020 15:07 CET | News

WhatsApp has launched digital payments enabled by Facebook Pay in Brazil, after testing a beta version of the service in India.

After months of trials, WhatsApp has finally enabled consumers to send and receive money by using Facebook Pay, without leaving their chat, as the company rolled out its payments feature in Brazil.

According to TechCrunch, Brazil is WhatApp’s second-largest market after India, where its efforts to launch a payments service have been held up by regulators, thus making Google Pay and PhonePe the preferred payment methods in India. The new payments offering is currently free for consumers to use, with no commission fee taken. However, businesses will pay a 3.99% processing fee to receive payments. 

Additionally, Mastercard and Visa have recently announced the extension of their partnership with Facebook to support the development of the new payments feature. Therefore, by leveraging Mastercard Send, WhatsApp users can use their phones to transfer money instantly, while Visa Direct enables real-time push payments, accompanied by Visa’s newly launched security capability, Visa Cloud Tokenization.

To benefit from the new offering, consumers have to link up their WhatsApp account to their Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card, with local partners such as Banco do Brasil, Nubank, and Sicredi. In recent news, payments processor Cielo has also announced working with WhatsApp to complete transactions.

The announcement might be surprising, as WhatsApp had been testing its payments service among users in India for months, by using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and many expected it to be the official launch pad for WhatsApp payments. However, as TechCrunch reports, Facebook has dealt with a number of regulatory issues in India and remained stuck, preventing it from expanding the payments service beyond a small, limited launch. 

Furthermore, regarding subsequent regions for launching the service, it is not clear yet whether Facebook will implement other types of payment methods beyond Facebook Pay, although the trial in India might imply that it won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach.

Overall, the future development of WhatsApp remains unclear, yet promising, considering that payments via cards or bank accounts are not the preferred payment methods in certain markets, especially emerging ones, where other types of transactions such as remittances are preferred.

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Keywords: WhatsApp, digital payments, launch, Brazil, Facebook Pay, MasterCard, Visa, MasterCard Send, Visa Direct, push payments, credit card, debit card, Google Pay, PhonePe, Unified Payments Interface, UPI, emerging markets
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: Brazil
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