WhatsApp launches digital payments option

Digital payments on WhatsApp will initially be tied to credit or debit cards.
Digital payments on WhatsApp will initially be tied to credit or debit cards.
Image: 123RF/Varin Rattanaburi

Facebook on Monday added a digital payments feature to its WhatsApp messaging service, starting in Brazil but with an eye to expanding around the world.

WhatsApp users in Brazil can use the encrypted mobile messaging service to send money or make purchases, Facebook said in a blog post.

It marks the first time the payments platform used at the leading social network has been woven into WhatsApp.

People will be able to send money or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat, the company noted.

“Payments on WhatsApp are beginning to roll out to people across Brazil beginning today and we look forward to bringing it to everyone as we go forward,” it said.

Sending money or making payments is a free option for WhatsApp users, but businesses will be charged a processing fee on par with those charged for typically credit card transactions, said the company.

Facebook sees long-term moneymaking potential in making its social network and messaging apps venues for businesses to engage in online conversations and transactions with customers.

“Over 10 million small and micro businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil's communities. It's become second nature to send a zap to a business to get questions answered,” said WhatsApp.

Digital payments on WhatsApp, which is encrypted end-to-end, will initially be tied to credit or debit cards. Transactions will require special identification codes or fingerprint verification.

WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging app in the world, with more than 1.5 billion monthly users around the world, according to market tracker Statistica.

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