WhatsApp Looks to Enter Lending Market in India: Report


Facebook has been struggling to roll out WhatsApp Pay in India. The social media giant has had to indulge in many discussions with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to ensure all regulatory hiccups are ironed out. Even though WhatsApp Pay is in a phased roll out stage, Facebook is reportedly already working on entering the lending space in India. In a regulatory filing, the company has mentioned credit as one of its business plans in India. This comes just a day after Amazon introduced ‘Amazon Pay Later’ service in India.

WhatsApp Payments has listed credit as one of its areas of interest in its recent Ministry of Corporate Affairs filing in India, accessed by TechCrunch. The technicalities of credit offering haven’t been detailed, and it remains to be seen if WhatsApp looks to offer users micro loans or offer credit against purchases through the payments platform. In any case, this credit feature will only be launched after WhatsApp Pay is rolled out commercially. The lending space is expected to see a surge due to unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and WhatsApp looks to tap into this new demand.

Foreseeing this, Amazon has launched the ‘Amazon Pay Later’ service to offer instant credit on purchases from the site. This includes loan on groceries and utility bills as well. The new service offers the option to repay in a subsequent month at no additional fees or convert large amount transactions into monthly instalments for up to 12 months. Flipkart also has a ‘Flipkart Pay Later’ option wherein it offers credit to its users.

After receiving the NPCI license in February this year, Facebook begun the first phase of WhatsApp Pay rollout. This rollout is said to have introduced the payment service to as many as 10 million users in India. The WhatsApp payment service uses the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to enable mobile transactions. However, WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India, and a full rollout will only be allowed after all pending compliance points have been ironed out.

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