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How WhatsApp is democratizing digital payments in India

WhatsApp’s ease of use, simple interface and ability to operate the app on even the most basic smartphones undoubtedly makes it a lifeline for over 400 million Indians who are using the platform to stay connected with their loved ones, promoting last-mile connectivity across the remotest parts of the country.

With digital payments on the rise across the globe, India today is the largest market globally for digital payments, boosted by UPI growth. The payments interface has seen a volume increase of 33% YoY between 2021 and 2022, thereby resulting in the introduction of a host of digital payment solutions by various players. That said, while India is seeing exponential growth of digital payments, parts of the rural and semi-urban population still remain untouched by its effects and benefits. This indicates that the next tranche of digital products need to be more accessible and inclusive, which is where payments on WhatsApp can have a significant role to play.

WhatsApp’s reach can help accelerate the adoption of UPI with users across geographies, generations, literacy levels and socio-economic segments, including those at the bottom of the pyramid – democratizing access to digital payments.

Here are four ways in which ‘payments on WhatsApp’ is winning the digital payments game and working towards making digital payments everyone’s cup of tea:

  1. Simple user experience: Making payments on WhatsApp is as easy as sending a message as it allows users to seamlessly make UPI based payments in one convenient place – their chats! All that a user needs to do is tap the ₹’ icon within a chat to initiate a payment to one of their contacts. Fund transfers can be initiated without providing the bank account details and IFSC code – all you need is a saved contact number.
  2. Safe and reliable: Payments on WhatsApp uses the government’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), making transactions quick and free of multiple layers of approvals. With user safety at its core, ‘payments on WhatsApp’ is designed with a strong set of security and privacy principles, including entering a personal UPI PIN for each payment.
  3. Accessible: Payments on WhatsApp can be operated even on the most basic smartphones, with ease of use, trust of users, and reliability of the platform creating democratised access to digital payments. Its security and simplicity takes away user inhibition towards technology, often making it the first digital gateway for first time digital users, thus, creating a seamless transition for the adoption of digital payments to send money to trusted contacts or enable paying at more than 20 million stores in India by scanning any QR code.
  4. Personalized payments experience – WhatsApp has introduced iconic and recognizable symbols within WhatsApp’s Chat Composer to drive the adoption of payments, which are also India-first features. The Rupee symbol in the chat composer makes sending payments using WhatsApp easier for people and is beneficial in a diverse country like India where one symbol is recognised regardless of any language barriers. Additionally, payments on WhatsApp can be used in 10 Indian languages. WhatsApp has also introduced culturally relevant stickers and thematic backgrounds that are based on India’s cultural nuances which personalize the experience and make sending money just as seamless and natural as everyday conversations on WhatsApp.