WhatsApp Pay was started last month in India and started off casually with only 310,000 UPI transactions in November 2020, according to the National Payments Corp. of India.
The reason for the tepid response to Whatsapp Pay was its insufficient availability to users, with 400 million active users in India not getting the feature at the same time in India. However, specialists said with excuses, such as cashback and more merchant-centric features, the Facebook-owned firm can make headway in a market that is largely controlled by pure payment apps such as PhonePe, Paytm, and Google Pay.
NPCI has put a 30% cap on UPI transactions to conquer the monopoly of Google Pay and PhonePe, which in November recorded 960 million and 868 million transactions, individually. However, specialists believe WhatsApp still has a long way to go.
“Various users still do not know that WhatsApp has payment ability. As users start communicating with businesses and when businesses start sending payment requests via UPI, slowly we will see transactions grow on WhatsApp too,” said Arnav Gupta, analyst, Forrester Research.
The payment feature in WhatsApp is a Different Kind of experience. The standalone payment apps is combined in a chat window. “Many people don’t open WhatsApp with the purpose of making payments, unlike Paytm and Google Pay where you usually go to make payments,” said Faisal Kawoosa, co-founder and chief analyst, techARC.
Nevertheless, some feel that payment being a blended feature of the app has its own use case and that provides WhatsApp an advantage over others.
“Many retailers are already using WhatsApp from a transaction point of view for sharing goods photos and videos with consumers. The amount in that cases is done through third-party apps like Paytm,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, founder and chief executive officer, Greyhound Research.
For the B2B and B2C business it is crucial for WhatsApp to have a huge fleet on the street, Gogia pointed out. Platforms like Paytm have a huge fleet of people on the territory who are educating and helping retailers set up online stores.
“Level of technology education on the ground is dismal. Though people use WhatsApp they need more courage to plan a Business store and do transactions on it,” he said.