Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp could be getting into mobile payments, as the company is currently in talks with multiple Indonesian digital payment outfits with a view to offering their mobile transaction services through WhatsApp.
Reuters are reporting the news, suggesting that WhatsApp are looking to introduce mobile payments in Indonesia. WhatsApp is also currently waiting for regulatory approval to roll out mobile payments in India, where WhatsApp’s biggest market resides.
However, the difference between Indonesia and India is that in Indonesia WhatsApp is merely hoping to serve as a platform via local digital wallets. This is partly because of tough licensing, but it could also provide a template for WhatsApp to start offering payments everywhere by teaming up with local payment providers and have them offer up the digital wallet, allowing them to sidestep several regulations.
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Indonesia is a good point to roll out payments. Over 100 million people use WhatsApp in the country, making it one of the top five markets globally for the chat program. It’s also seeing a huge boost to its e-commerce industry, with some analysts predicting that it could reach as high as $100 billion by 2025. With that in mind, it makes sense that WhatsApp would want a slice of the pie.
Deals are expected to be finalised shortly, although several sources have suggested that the service, originally planned to roll out towards the end of 2019, will likely gestate for a few more months.
Don’t expect it to stop there. Currently payments through WhatsApp are in their infancy, but with the framework in place it’s not hard to imagine them rolling out in various regions where payments using your phone are a popular way of doing business.