WhatsApp Pay Gets Green Sign in India in a Graded Manner, With 20 Million User Cap

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The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced today that WhatsApp can go ahead with the rollout of WhatsApp Pay in India. The company will be allowed to rollout in a “graded manner” the NPCI said, and it is going to first be allowed to take action with a maximum of 20 million registered users in UPI. To compare, PhonePe recently announced that it has hit the 250 million user mark. Ahead of this, the NPCI also announced that third party apps like these will be capped to a maximum of 30 percent of all transactions someday, stating from January 2021.

This transaction share cap will most strongly have an effect on Google Pay and PhonePe, either one of which account for 40 percent of the UPI transactions in India, according to a recent outline.

Recently, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) dismissed a case against Facebook’s WhatsApp, saying the company has not abused its dominant position to expand in the country’s digital payments market. In its order in August, the CCI said it did not find any contravention of antitrust laws, adding the company’s “actual conduct is yet to manifest out there” as it has not fully launched the service yet.

WhatsApp Pay was once expected to launch in India much sooner — an announcement was once expected around Diwali final year, and lots of feared that the 400 million user base that the company had at the time would give it an unfair virtue.

Earlier this year, a outline suggested that WhatsApp Pay would launch in May with three banks on board, but permissions had not been forthcoming. Now, with the NPCI’s green sign, the messaging platform can expand its payments operations in India, but will still see a reasonably small cap on how many users it can register, when in comparison to the market leaders in India.

Why are smartphone prices rising in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you’ll subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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