Facebook-owned social messaging giant WhatsApp has launched its in-app payment service in Brazil. Users will be able to send money securely or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat.
The company announced in a blog post last Monday, June 15, 2020. Brazilian users can now send and receive money using Facebook Pay on the app. WhatsApp has been testing its beta version in India for years but is stuck in a legal and regulatory quagmire. Facebook announced last year the service would roll out to Instagram, Messenger, Facebook, and eventually WhatsApp. The firm said in the blog post:
“We’re excited to announce that starting today; we’re bringing digital payments to WhatsApp users in Brazil. People will be able to send money securely or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat.”
Support Debit and Credit Cards
As per the company, consumers won’t be paying any fees to use the service; it’s merchants who will be paying a processing fee to receive payments. For users to access the service, they will need to link a debit or credit card to their WhatsApp account. The system has been designed to secure all transactions with a six-digit PIN or a fingerprint. The company is working with Cielo, a Brazilian payments processor. The payment service is supporting debit or credit cards from Banco do Brasil, Nubank, and Sicredi.
WhatsApp has been trying to enter the digital payments market for some time now. The company launched a beta version in India in 2018, where most people expected the launch would be happening. WhatsApp parent company Facebook has battled regulatory issues since it announced plans to enter the digital payments market via Libra. Its plan to provide free Facebook access drew criticism and led to accusations of digital colonialism.
With the initiative, Facebook may get a sort of workaround to its plans for a payment system away from its Libra Cryptocurrency. The new service will mostly accomplish the project like Telegram had in mind for its now-abandoned TON blockchain.
Bring More to the Digital Economy
With over 400 million active WhatsApp users, India should have been the leading market for payments for the new tool. However, this is not happening any time soon, as Indian legislators are still fighting all things crypto. Brazil has over 10 million small and micro-businesses, and it makes sense to trial the new payment system here. By simplifying payment systems, Facebook Pay will bring more to the digital economy and open up new opportunities for growth. The company says:
“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.”