WhatsApp has an enormous customer base, hitting 2 billion active users in February. Facebook, who bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, decided early on not to include ads in the app to start generating revenue, despite many saying it was inevitable. Instead, they want to make money with WhatsApp from value adding services. They have now launched WhatsApp digital payments in Brazil, after extensive testing in India.
The company announced WhatsApp digital payments in a blog post, where they state it is meant to enable money transfers both for individuals and small businesses.
“The over 10 million small and micro businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil’s communities. It’s become second nature to send a zap to a business to get questions answered. Now in addition to viewing a store’s catalog, customers will be able to send payments for products as well. Making payments simple can help bring more businesses into the digital economy, opening up new opportunities for growth,” they say in the post.
The payments are enabled through Facebook Pay, which the parent company said they want to roll out on all their platforms, to Instagram, Messenger, Facebook, and eventually WhatsApp.
“Payments on WhatsApp are beginning to roll out to people across Brazil beginning today and we look forward to bringing it to everyone as we go forward,” they said.
The have created an open payment system within which they want to add more partners in the future.
Merchants need to pay processing fees to receive payments, but individuals won’t be charged any fees to use the service. As you would imagine, users need to link their debit or credit card to their WhatsApp account, which you secure with your fingerprint or a six digit passcode.
We know that Facebook has been working on such a service within WhatsApp for some time, and beta tested it in India in 2018. If the service gets relatively strong take-up rates, expect it to roll out to other parts of the world as well, especially in developing countries where the banking infrastructure may not be ideal.