Could it be that Facebook has smelt the blood and wants a piece of the Indian market? Recall that one of the company’s subsidiaries WhatsApp recently launched a mobile payment service in India, and things are heading in the right direction. Well, report says Facebook is currently testing a payment service that will allow users make recharges on the messaging app.
According to Factory Daily, the social networking giant is testing the service that is independent of WhatsApp payments. “The platform will be separate from WhatsApp and will allow peer-to-peer and peer-to-merchant payments,” said the source per Factory Daily.
Another source who had seen the demo of the product on Messenger said: “Recharge is a good way to test the market. The transaction values are small but the volumes are high.”
In 2016, Facebook announced that its 30,000 bots in Messenger can now accept payments natively without directing you to third-party websites.
“We’re kicking off the beginning of messages with payments that will allow businesses to sell products and services directly to customers in Messenger. Customers can check out with a few easy clicks, without ever leaving the Messenger app. Merchants will be able to onboard with a simple self-serve onboarding flow.”
Messenger’s David Marcus made that announcement onstage at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016. PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, Stripe, American Express, and Braintree are first set of payment platforms the social media company partnered with for a start. Users’ credit card info that has been stored in either Facebook or Messenger can be used to make instant purchases in bots.
“Moving forward, we are also simplifying the payment and checkout experience in order to reduce the overall friction between wanting something and getting it. People can use their payment information already stored on Messenger and Facebook to check out faster in Messenger threads,” the company said at the time.
Last February, WhatsApp rolled out a p2p service that allows users to transfer money among themselves. At launch, users could only transfer money to friends to the exclusion of merchant accounts.
The service is built on India’s Unified Payments Interface [UPI], which allows for instant money transfer between various bank accounts in India; one of the largest tech markets in the world. The UPI is a platform that enables exchange or transfer of funds between customers at no charges; and is the same as what other early entrants into the market are using.
Soon after launch, WhatsApp added QR code support for payments. QR code support will allow WhatsApp users to carry out monetary transactions within the app.
With 200 million people using the WhatsApp app in India, adding a p2p functionality to its service already gives it a big edge ahead of others. Though, there are small matters of building partnership with merchants and adding more features to the service; the Facebook subsidiary has a strong case. As a matter of fact, the QR code feature will further help the app make inroad in that country.