Payments are coming to WhatsApp soon, but not globally

One of the wonders of instant messaging is being able to send and receive photos, videos, documents, and other files. However, an increasingly common feature in these apps is instant payments. WhatsApp seems to be implementing this in the near future – but don’t expect to use it in the US anytime soon.

Why are instant payments so important?

Photo: UniBul’s Money Blog

Instant payments or P2P payments are a relatively new feature which is making its way to many messaging apps. On paper, it’s a godsend. You can send money as if it were an image or a document. The app then draws funds from your bank account or PayPal account and sends them to the other person. And all of this without interacting with your account at all.

It’s a pretty simple concept, and it’s a logical step in the right direction. Especially considering that we now have things like Android Pay. Apps like Facebook Messenger are getting instant payments soon, aided by PayPal. And so will iMessage with the release of iOS 11, using Apple’s own Apple Pay service. So it’s not surprising that WhatsApp is also getting a payment platform, as revealed by WABetaInfo. The platform, unsurprisingly called WhatsApp Payments, seems to be a part of WhatsApp’s business efforts. But what’s the catch here?

It’s India only – at least for now

Photo: WABetaInfo

This shouldn’t come as a surprise since WhatsApp is thriving in India as the main messaging service. Rather than using PayPal or a similar service for payments, WhatsApp uses UPI, regulated by the Reserve Bank of India. This allows for the WhatsApp Payments platform to be available for a way wider audience. However, they seem to be focusing this feature around that particular payment service. This means that we probably won’t see this feature stateside anytime soon.

The first signs of a payment service appeared in WhatsApp Beta 2.17.295 as a hidden feature. You’ll need to accept the WhatsApp Payments’s terms and privacy policy in order to use the service, which is (obviously) not available yet.

When will this feature become available?

This feature seems to be a part of the bigger “WhatsApp Business” service, which is probably coming in the next few weeks. Aside from P2P transactions, this should also allow people to pay businesses straight from their chats. So you can expect it coming after the WhatsApp Business platform comes out.

Seeing how iMessage is also putting out their instant payment service, this feature should also make it to the West soon enough. But don’t get your hopes up if you expect it coming in 2017.

Are you excited? Leave us your thoughts below.

Source: WABetaInfo