WhatsApp Pay Debuts in India

India is WhatsApp’s biggest market, with over 400 million users, and in February of 2018, the Facebook-owned message platform WhatsApp rolled out its beta payment service in India. More than two years later, the company has finally gotten approval from the NPCI to launch its payment service. As of early November, Facebook can provide WhatsApp Pay to only twenty million users. However, if all goes according to plan, the cap will increase at a later date. 

Mark Zuckerberg released a video regarding this event, proclaiming that Indians are now able to send money to friends as easily as sending a message. He also noted that the use of digital payments is growing increasingly important during these trying times since it eliminates the need for in-person cash exchanges.

WhatsApp Pay will utilize UPI, the country’s national payment infrastructure. Brands such as Google Pay and PhonePe also use this interface, each controlling around 40% of all network transactions. WhatsApp Pay will aim to allow interoperability between other apps, and Facebook is working with banks such as HDFC Bank, CICI Bank, Axis Bank, Jio Payments Bank, and the State Bank of India to introduce the service to users. 

India’s Digital Payments Market Will Increase 3-Fold By 2025

According to Statista, e-wallet transfers represent 26% of all total online transactions in India. Popular credit/debit card options still have a lead of 6%, which should dissipate in the coming years. Surveys say that users prefer to use wallet apps due to convenience and efficiency. They especially like to use them for signing up for online services, and are the preferred payment methods for online lotteries.

RedSeer, a management consulting company, predicts that the digital payment market will grow to Rs 7,092 trillion by 2025. The company lists the growing digitization of merchants and government policies surrounding financial inclusion as the two top reasons as to why this will occur. RedSeer’s report says that wallet apps’ user bases will grow once offline merchants in the retail sector increase digitization.  

How Secure Are Mobile Wallet Apps?

Those on the fence, thinking about switching over to a wallet app, prioritize security as their prime cause of concern. Many potential users wonder how safe are digital payment methods.

In general, mobile wallets provide better security than credit cards or paying in person. When users make a transaction through any of the previously mentioned apps, the merchant does not receive any details regarding their bank account or other underlying sources of funds. He gets a unique code that is only valid for that single purchase. Thus, if a merchant gets hacked or one of his employees gets access to those details, they do not have any information concerning the customer’s underlying account. Using these apps also eliminates the potential of data theft through the use of card skimmers.

Furthermore, these pieces of software include the ability to set up biometric authentication for an unmatched level of trust. Fingerprint, iris, and face scans are just a sample of how users can protect their accounts. Multi-factor authentication is standard practice today, and they make unauthorized access virtually impossible.

Other quality tips are to never purchase things online through a public Wi-Fi network and never keep large amounts in uninsured accounts. If a user is on a Wi-Fi network offered by hospitality establishments, someone on the same network may have the ability to capture their data. Thus, users should use their mobile data connections when out in public. Also, some digital accounts may not have insurance, so it’s wise not to keep large funds in them. 

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