Mobile messaging and calling app LINE is soon extending its mobile payment service LINE Pay globally, reports The Next Web. It says the service was supposed to be launched globally on December 8, but later postponed it and now plans to launch it “shortly”.
LINE Pay was initially launched in October this year and allows users to link their debit or credit card or add money from the account of an associated bank to their LINE account and make purchases at both online and physical stores that support the service. In Japan, the company had partnered with banks like Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Bank.
Besides purchases, LINE Pay also enables users to send money and even withdraw money directly from the user’s bank account. In terms of security, LINE Pay needs users to set up a second password, separate from their LINE account credentials to protect their card details. iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 users have an additional layer of security through Apple’s fingerprint sensor TouchID.
Messenger apps have been reinventing themselves to stay relevant and are exploring digital payments as a new avenue. Recently, Snapchat introduced Snapcash and allowed its users to transfer money via the messaging platform. (On a sidebar, Snapchat’s video to explain Snapcash through song and dance is terrifically annoying and gives me no comfort that the transactions are safe).
Facebook’s messenger service seems to be close to doing something similar. Gmail earlier last month rolled out sending money via an attachment, but it’s available only in the US currently.
It’s currently not clear whether LINE plans to extend this service to India. While this service will probably fit in well with its ecosystem approach in the country, it will probably struggle with RBI’s recent online credit card payment guidelines. However the RBI also is coming out with guidelines which will simplify payments for small ticket sizes and will not require two-factor authentication. Earlier, the RBI’s insistence on two-factor authentication led online cab booking service Uber to migrate to mobile wallet Paytm to comply with rules. LINE will have to keep a close eye on regulation in India for rolling out its services.
That being said, pre-paid wallets such as Oxigen are using social media and messaging platforms such as Whatsapp to enable transactions via them. Kotak Mahindra Bank also recently launched KayPay, a payments system which allows you to send money to Facebook friends without knowing their bank account details. The bank also has allowed payments via email on their net banking portal through its Mail Money service. ICICI Bank too has service which allows you to do financial transactions over a Facebook app.