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Business News/ Industry / Banking/  NPCI permits WhatsApp to raise UPI user base to 100 million
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NPCI permits WhatsApp to raise UPI user base to 100 million

WhatsApp was running its UPI-based payment system, WhatsApp Pay in beta mode since 2018, with 1 million users

The company’s UPI payment service has lagged peers, clocking fewer transactions than was initially expected. BloombergPremium
The company’s UPI payment service has lagged peers, clocking fewer transactions than was initially expected. Bloomberg

Retail payments umbrella entity National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Wednesday said it has approved WhatsApp to add another 60 million users on unified payments interface (UPI), taking the total base to 100 million.

“With this approval, WhatsApp will be able to expand the service to its 100 million users," NPCI said in a statement. 

In November 2020, NPCI had allowed WhatsApp to go live on UPI in the multi-bank model. At that point, the Meta-owned messaging app was permitted to expand its UPI user base in a graded manner, beginning with a maximum registered user base of 20 million. A year after that, WhatsApp was allowed to double UPI users to 40 million. 

WhatsApp was running its UPI-based payment system, WhatsApp Pay in beta mode since 2018, with 1 million users. One of the biggest hurdles for the platform, continued to be Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) data localisation norms for payment providers in the country, which the company had to comply with. In affidavit filed by RBI the Supreme Court in 2020, NPCI had told the central bank in June that it was satisfied with WhatsApp’s compliance with the regulator’s data storage rules and was good to go live on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform. 

The company’s UPI payment service has lagged peers, clocking fewer transactions than was initially expected. To be sure, the payment service is still unavailable to a majority of its estimated user base of over 400 million in India. In March, WhatsApp processed 2.54 million transactions, worth 239.78 crore. While PhonePe has processed 2.5 billion transactions, Google Pay was used for 1.8 billion payment transactions, showed data from NPCI.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shayan Ghosh
Shayan Ghosh is a national editor at Mint reporting on traditional banks and shadow banks. He has over 12 years of experience in financial journalism. Based in Mint’s Mumbai bureau since 2018, he tracks interest rate movements and its impact on companies and the broader economy. His interests also include the distressed debt market, especially as India’s bankruptcy law attempts recoveries of billions worth of toxic assets.
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Published: 14 Apr 2022, 01:52 AM IST
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