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A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) affidavit in the Supreme Court suggests that the decks for WhatsApp Pay to start operations in India have been more or less cleared. According to the document, as reported, the Facebook-owned payment service has met five RBI requirements, and the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) has informed the central bank of its compliance with data storage rules and sought RBI’s permission to let it go live.

With NPCI’s okay, it seems a matter of time before over 400 million Indians are able to use WhatsApp as a tool to swipe money around the internet. Given the app’s strong engagement of its users’ waking hours, its success seems a foregone conclusion. A network of small businesses under Reliance’s JioMart shopping platform is ready to play catalyst and get catalysed by the service. Early movers in the e-payments space, like Paytm, will have to watch out. An app that people chat on tends to stay close-at-thumb. For the consumer, it’s convenience and safety that count. With its claim of end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp has an advantage on the security front as well. Expect cashless commerce to get a big boost.

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