Facebook’s WhatsApp, the Mountain View, Calif.-based messaging app with a broad global following, may be preparing to roll out person-to-person payments, beginning with its app in India.
The clue is a new job posting on Facebook’s career site seeking an exec to lead digital transactions for WhatsApp in India. The position calls for someone who grasps India’s emerging digital payments platforms, including the bank-to-bank payments platform UPI, BHIM and Aadhaar, who’s willing to help “scale global support” for digital transactions on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp, with 1 billion users, is highly popular within India and as a vehicle for cross-border communications through voice and messaging, though unlike Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp currently doesn’t support payments. More than 200 million Indian consumers subscribe to WhatsApp.
Since India cracked down on cash last fall with its demonetization of small-denomination bills, digital payments volume has been steadily rising, with local players like Paytm notching major gains in usage, while newcomers such as Sweden’s Truecaller, also are moving into the market.