By Sriraj Singhania
The craze of Digital India doesn’t seem to end. At times when the Indian Consumer is getting used to the intricacies of apps like PayTM, etc., a new player is soon going to enter the market of Digital Transactions.
It is none other than WhatsApp.
Spill the beans
During his visit to India this February, WhatsApp Co- founder Brian Acton did spill the beans when he admitted that his company is “in the early stages” of looking into how it can incorporate payment services and contribute to the vision of Digital India.
The feature of “payments” was added to its Messenger App by Facebook in the US some months ago but installing such a feature in WhatsApp which is prominently used in India would be transformative, disruptive and revolutionary.
WhatsApp has a base of about 200 million users in India. Since the credit card penetration is also low in India, the peer to peer payment service might just be the next big thing. It’s a no-brainer for WhatsApp to step into this venture.
Very few people are aware of the fact that there is a WhatsApp news based service – Rocket Post Live in Uttar Pradesh run by a journalist who mints money through it. So, it isn’t a new thing for WhatsApp to be used as a medium of business.
Splurge in Digital payments
As per the data from Reserve Bank of India’s electronic payment system, except for debit cards, there has been an increase in the number of transactions through common digital payment methods like Mobile banking and wallets, POS, etc. Transactions through the newly introduced UPI have seen an increase from Rs.90 crore in November 2016 to Rs.1659 crore in January 2017. Digital transactions are definitely here to stay.
While everything seems to look cozy on the outside, WhatsApp might end up being a new generation Black Market. The actual usage of WhatsApp – Instant Messaging may get lost and it might lead to WhatsApp’s own undoing. It definitely doesn’t want to hit the hammer on its own foot.
It certainly won’t be a walk in the park for WhatsApp. Last month itself, Truecaller announced Truecaller8 for Android Phones which in addition to its conventional uses has added the feature of transacting money from one user to another using NPCI’s(National Payments Corporation of India) UPI(Unified Payment Interface) platform. Samsung Pay was also launched recently and we obviously have the marquee players in the market like PayTm, FreeCharge, BHIM, etc.But WhatsApp has the potential to cut them down to pieces.
As mentioned above, the payment feature of WhatsApp might just cause a huge disruption in the Digital Payments Market. Everything is speculative as of now but the future holds a lot of promise for the consumers. What’s important is that the consumer is the end winner in this battle between Digital giants.