WhatsApp has removed the Request Payment feature for its UPI-based payment service in India. Users can no longer request peer-to-peer payments as was possible when WhatsApp was beta testing the app. Requesting payments was possible on WhatsApp until recently in-chat by selecting the Pay option. Now, neither the Payments tab nor chats show the option. Requesting payments was not a feature available at first on WhatsApp; the company added the feature in 2018, leading Gadgets 360 to remark that it was “finally” possible to request payments.
It is unclear why WhatsApp has disabled requesting payments for peer-to-peer transactions, or when this change happened. One reason for the feature going away may have to do with fraud: as millions of users enable payments, WhatsApp may have found it easier to deal with potential social engineering fraud by disabling requesting payments altogether. One of the largest UPI-based social engineering frauds is to request payments from unsuspecting users and convincing them that the payment is actually a deposit into their account. We have reached out to Facebook for comment.
WhatsApp Pay has been allowed to exit its beta stage, but Facebook can’t enrol more than 20 million users, in a blunt preemptive requirement by the National Payments Corporation of India to address competition concerns; WhatsApp is likely already installed on more devices in India than any single UPI app. The app has started off sluggishly in terms of transaction volumes, though it is growing steadily. The app processed 5.6 million UPI transactions in January, and seems nowhere near its 20 million user cap, assuming that users with the app are using it regularly.
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