Paying with your mobile is not new: doing it with WhatsApp is another story. The company had started testing this payment system in India, but regulatory problems there have caused the company to end up publicly releasing its payments through WhatsApp in Brazil, an initiative that confirms the plans announced in January 2020.
Users in this country can already pay without commissions in all kinds of shops – these do pay a commission to receive these payments – and thus become the first of a deployment that promises to spread worldwide gradually. That is the intention of Facebook and WhatsApp, although they have not given dates or details about next steps in this regard.
Payments via WhatsApp land in Brazil, the rest of the world will come later
Those responsible for WhatsApp have explained that Brazilian users can make these payments directly from WhatsApp with two options to authorize payments: either a 6-digit PIN, or the user’s fingerprint.
In order to make these payments, we must associate the WhatsApp account with a credit or debit card from an entity affiliated with the service. WhatsApp currently works in Brazil with Banco do Brasil, Nubank and Sicredi, but it is expected that other banking companies will end up being compatible with the service as well.
WhatsApp users will be able to pay in stores, but also send money to other users, something that “will be as easy as sending a message.” In the official WhatsApp announcement, in fact, they indicate that the launch of the service is especially relevant “at times like these, when people must practice social distancing.”
The service therefore comes into operation for the first time officially and publicly in Brazil, but the company makes it clear that its ambition is to offer it worldwide, and they affirm that they hope “that it will be available to all users as let’s move forward with implementation. ”
The arrival of mobile payments via WhatsApp is especially striking – and disturbing – because of the threat that this option poses to traditional banking. Services such as Bizum or Twyp had managed to propose a solution for sending payments between people via mobile phones, but their scope is relatively limited: there are not so many Bizum users, but in many countries – Spain is one of them – almost all world has WhatsApp.