NEW DELHI: In a groundbreaking move aimed at enhancing the digital payment landscape in India, Meta, under the leadership of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has officially launched the ability for users to make Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions within WhatsApp Business messaging. Zuckerberg made this pivotal announcement during the Meta Conversations event, which was held virtually, at the esteemed Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai.
The integration of UPI payments within WhatsApp Business is set to revolutionize the way Indian customers interact with businesses on the platform. Users will now have the convenience of choosing from a plethora of payment methods, including 'Pay on WhatsApp,' credit/debit cards, netbanking, Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm, and various other UPI options. This strategic move towards diversified payment solutions is made possible through initial partnerships with payment service providers RazorPay and PayU.
WhatsApp's foray into payments has previously been introduced in select markets such as Singapore and Brazil. However, the grand reveal by Zuckerberg signifies India's significant importance in Meta's global strategy.
Zuckerberg stated during the event, "Today, I'm excited to announce that we are bringing this service to India. With payments in India, we're going to support other payment methods as well, including all UPI apps. This is going to make it even easier for people to pay Indian businesses within a WhatsApp chat using whatever method they prefer."
In addition to the payment feature, Zuckerberg unveiled the expansion of 'Meta Verified' to encompass businesses on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. Initially, this verification will target smaller businesses, granting them an official badge, protection against impersonation, dedicated account support, and access to exclusive business features. This expansion of Meta Verified is expected to be progressively rolled out in the coming months.
It's worth noting that Meta Verified for individual users on Facebook and Instagram was introduced in India earlier this year, adding an extra layer of trust and authenticity to user profiles.
Another significant development is the introduction of 'WhatsApp Flows,' which will be gradually introduced in the weeks ahead. WhatsApp Flows is a feature designed to streamline and automate common business processes, such as booking tickets, completing forms, or submitting applications, thus further enhancing the efficiency of business interactions on the platform.
Meta is also placing a strong emphasis on skill development and empowerment within India. Sandhya Devanathan, Meta's Vice President for India, announced plans to upskill 10 million traders across 29 states in 11 different Indian languages over the next three years. This initiative aims to equip businesses with the necessary tools and knowledge to thrive in the digital age.
Highlighting the widespread use of WhatsApp in India, Devanathan emphasized that a staggering 80% of Indian consumers prefer using messaging platforms to communicate with businesses. She underscored the platform's utility by citing examples of daily WhatsApp messages being sent for purposes like booking metro tickets, ordering cooking gas cylinders, and resolving customer service inquiries, often in languages other than English.
Devanathan summed it up succinctly, stating, "WhatsApp is used by nearly every smartphone-wielding person in the country."
As the WhatsApp user base continues to expand globally, reaching a remarkable 3.8 billion monthly users, according to Meta's presentation, these strategic innovations reaffirm India's pivotal role in shaping the future of Meta's technology ecosystem.