NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) today allowed WhatsApp to beta test its latest project of payment service within a limited customer base and transaction ceiling. This is the first step in a series of Payment Services WhatsApp is planning to launch in India over the year. With India already being a booming market for the online payment services, this latest development of this online messaging platform, which sold itself in 16 billion dollars to Facebook in 2014, will establish it in rivalry with the likes of Paytm, FreeCharge, and MobiKwik.
“Currently, NPCI has given its consent to roll out WhatsApp BHIM UPI beta launch with a limited user base of one million and low per transaction limit. Four banks will join the multi-bank BHIM UPI model in phases (in the coming weeks) and full feature product shall be released after the beta test is successful,” GadgetsNow recorded NPCI saying in a statement. The revelation was quickly followed up by a backlash from Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm Founder. He pitched his allegations through his Twitter handle, which accused Facebook of arm-twisting UPI to get the and “killing beautiful open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation.” He also hinted the fact that the different algorithms would mean that the WhatsApp payment would be “unsafe”.
“After failing to win the war against India’s open Internet with cheap tricks of free basics, Facebook is again in play. Killing beautiful open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation. I am surprised, champions of open @India_Stack, let it happen!” read his tweet which surfaced earlier this day. However, Sharma ended up being the lone wolf as the founders of FreeCharge and MobiKwik, other players in the market, stood with WhatsApp and slammed Paytm’s double standards.
“All incumbents complaining about WhatsApp getting an unfair advantage in its UPI implementation to further its business interests — Those who live in glass houses … there is a clear record of private companies who got access first and exclusively when UPI was launched,” tweeted Bipin Preet Singh, CEO, and Founder of MobiKwik. WhatsApp certainly would take the lion’s share of the flourishing market once it fully establishes itself, which would only mean the demise of the small-scale startups. This would also mean that the Chinese investment in the various ventures would complete evaporate, marking the end of the days of maintaining online Wallets, as a bank to bank transaction would become the norm.
Feature Image Credits: The Independent