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WhatsApp rolls out payments services via Facebook Pay in Brazil

WhatsApp Pay screenshots
Source: WhatsApp

WhatsApp launched its payments services in Brazil on Monday. The service enabled by Facebook Pay, which the social giant had launched in Brazil last year. Users can send and receive money on by linking their WhatsApp accounts to their Visa or Mastercard debit and credit cards, and with local banks including Banco do Brasil, Nubank and Sicredi. Payments processing company, Cielo will help in handling the transactions.

Person to person payments are free, but businesses will pay a processing fee of 3.99%, “similar to what they may already pay when accepting a credit card transaction”, for receiving money. Users will have to enter a six-digit PIN or fingerprint to authenticate transactions.

“The over 10 million small and micro-businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil’s communities,” WhatsApp said. “Now in addition to viewing a store’s catalog, customers will be able to send payments for products as well.” “Because payments on WhatsApp are enabled by Facebook Pay, in the future we want to make it possible for people and businesses to use the same card information across Facebook’s family of apps,” WhatsApp added.

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In February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that “WhatsApp Payments will be a part of Facebook Pay”. While Facebook Pay is not available in India, the Brazil launch indicates that WhatsApp payments may roll out in more countries where Facebook Pay already works.

WhatsApp Pay’s India plans in limbo

WhatsApp’s UPI payments service was piloted over two years ago in India and has been awaited ever since. Facebook and WhatsApp have run into hurdles around India’s data localisation mandate and the related regulatory clearances. At least two different cases have been filed in the Supreme Court against the service. WhatsApp’s UPI payments launch in India is expected to upend the existing ecosystem, as it is the go-to messaging platform, with 400 million monthly active users in the country.

Finally, in February, WhatsApp secured a license to operate from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), after securing the RBI’s approval. Just earlier this month, WhatsApp’s associate general counsel Brian Henessey questioned the credentials and suitability of a “legal thinktank” that filed a petition against WhatsApp Pay in the Supreme Court.

The petitioner, Good Governance Chambers (G2 Chambers), has asked the Supreme Court to not grant permission to WhatsApp to expand its digital payments system in India through UPI. WhatsApp’s affidavit argues that the petition is not maintainable in court and calls G2 Chambers a “busybody” that, as an “unregistered Think Tank”

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