WhatsApp launched a digital payment system in Brazil on 15th June, 2020, allowing WhatsApp users, across the country, to send and receive payments within a chat. This system will enable them to attach the payment as they would attach an image.
In its blog post, WhatsApp said,” 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.” The payments, the messenger service states, “are an open model”, to enable the addition of newer partners later on.
Users will not be charged any fee on using the payment service. However, merchants receiving payments will have to pay a small processing fee. It will also be necessary for users to link a credit/debit card to be able to use this payment service. Cards issued by Nubank, Banco do Brasil and Sicredi will be supported, and the company is also working with Cielo, Brazilian payment gateway. Also, all transactions have been secured with a 6-digit PIN or fingerprints.
WhatsApp has been in the process of testing digital payments. In 2018, the message service conducted beta testing in India, which led to the belief that India would be the first country to have WhatsApp digital payments. However, Facebook faced several regulatory issues in the country, and Brazil is now the first country to benefit from WhatsApp Digital Payments.
Brazil has more than 120 million WhatsApp users and is second only to India. According to Matt Idema, COO, WhatsApp, the message service is used by botsh small businesses and individuals. He further stated,” We think we can help grow digital payments, help grow the digital economy with small businesses, and help support financial inclusion.”
Even before the launch of WhatsApp’s digital payments, several small businesses in Brazil have been using the messenger for marketing purposes, to send catalogs and answer queries.
In April, Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive, Facebook, stated that the company plans to expand business tools to aid business owners. He also stated that after Brazil, the company plans to prioritize introducing digital payments in Mexico, Indonesia, and India.
This rollout comes at a good time when businesses with physical contact are shut. This launch will help users conduct business without any physical interaction, and help send and receive payments for purchases.
The WhatsApp digital payment feature is not just for businesses or online purchases. It is also for individuals who can now send money to their near and dear ones, separated by distance.
After rolling out Facebook Pay in November 2019, the company rolled out Facebook Shops in May 2020, enabling small businesses to set up online storefronts that customers can access from both Instagram and Facebook. It works like a physical store, where customers can message the business through Instagram, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger and ask for help.
Brazil has over 10 million micro and small businesses. With WhatsApp digital payments now active in Brazil, small businesses with Facebook shops can accept money on WhatsApp chat. Customers can not only view a store’s catalog but also purchase products and send payments on WhatsApp chat. This feature will open up new opportunities for businesses, helping them enter the digital economy and grow.
WhatsApp digital payments began to roll out on the 15th June 2020, and it will soon be available to everyone going forward.
As WhatsApp payments are “enabled by Facebook Pay”, as mentioned on the WhatsApp blog, the company wants to ensure that businesses and individuals can use the “same card information across Facebook’s family of apps.”
WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion. The messaging service has more than 2 billion users now.