Facebook-owned WhatsApp is all set to launch UPI-based payment support and it seems like that this feature could see a light of the day way sooner than we expected. According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp has already begun implementing payments platform in its latest beta version for the Android app.

The feature is said to being tested with Android beta version 2.17.295 of WhatsApp application and while the update does not bring any newly added features or incremental changes, it offers a hidden preview to the payments integration system.

UPI stands for Unified Payments Interface which allows users to transfer money by simply using another user’s virtual payment address and at this point in time, it still remains unclear how WhatsApp is going to allow users link their VPA to enable the UPI infrastructure.

image source: wabetainfo.com
image source: wabetainfo.com

The WABetaInfo blog further reveals that the WhatsApp payments page says, this feature is based on “Immediate bank to bank transfer with UPI” mode and WhatsApp users will need to agree to the ‘Terms and Privacy Policy’ regarding both WhatsApp Payments as well as the Bank while using this feature.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is expected to begin rolling out this feature in the coming six months as the social media giant already supports mobile payments on its Facebook Messenger application in the US, which is also expected to launch UPI payments support in India, as well.

Recently, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) confirmed that at the soon-to-be launched WhatsApp payments system would integrate the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) which has been developed by NPCI.

WeChat, the Chinese messaging application, has engineered exactly a same system called WeChat Pay which relies on user contacts as well as scanned QR codes to effect payments.

WhatsApp, on the other hand, has two options to introduce this new update, first just like PayTM, WhatsApp might mold itself as a digital wallet and link it to UPI addresses. However, given this would necessitate a RBI licensing policy and would be a minimal use of the UPI interface, WhatsApp could go for UPI-driven payments just like the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app. BHIM App processes transactions with the help of all manners of IDs like phone numbers, bank accounts, Facebook contacts or even Aadhaar numbers.

image source: freelancinggig.com
image source: freelancinggig.com

No matter what the final configuration would be, WhatsApp’s embrace of UPI based payments will have a lasting impact on India’s digital economy. WhatsApp is reported to have more than 200 million active users in India and the UPI-based payments will definitely benefit both the users as well as the service provider when the update gets enabled on its platform.

The messaging app has recently rolled out a host of new features aimed at enhancing the user experience and recently, there have been reports that WhatsApp is planning to roll out new business-friendly features on Windows Phone devices, as well.