The WhatsApp Pay service was launched as an experiment in Brazil.
This is a payment service integrated into the popular instant messaging app WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide and is arguably the most popular messaging application. Brazil was chosen as the testing ground due to the fact that it is very popular in the country.
In reality, a similar move was long expected from Facebook, the company that owns the app, partly due to competition from other similar apps that already successfully integrate payment functions.
In particular, the most popular messaging app in China, WeChat, has been integrating such features for several years now and the Chinese have started using it en masse. It was in fact very unlikely that Facebook would decide to stay out of this market.
Facebook and Libra
At the same time, the company is working on the Libra project, together with about twenty other partners, to create a wallet and a stablecoin that could also end up being integrated into WhatsApp in the future.
For now, Facebook has promised to keep the two projects separate, as WhatsApp Pay will only use fiat currencies for now, but should Libra be successful it is difficult to imagine that it cannot be integrated into WhatsApp Pay as well.
The payments made with the new service actually take place through the Facebook Pay platform, insomuch that the company promises that in the future it will also integrate it into other applications of the Facebook family, such as presumably Instagram and the Facebook app itself.
The new fiat currency payment service is already active for Brazilian users using the messaging app, and there are more than 10 million small or micro-businesses in Brazil that could benefit significantly from using these new payment systems.
In addition, it has become an established procedure for these types of companies to receive messages via WhatsApp for information requests or purchases.
The system can be connected to credit or debit cards from Banco do Brasil, Nubank and Sicredi, both via VISA and MasterCard, and the company says it is working with Brazil’s leading payment provider, Cielo, for integration at a later date.
With the new features introduced, customers will be able to view the product catalogue of a business, and send payments for the products purchased.
The goal is to simplify payments to allow more and more companies to join the digital economy, thereby creating new opportunities for growth.
Sending money through WhatsApp Pay is as simple as sending a message on WhatsApp.
The service can also be used by individuals to send money to friends and family, for example.