Facebook Begins Testing To Launch Independent Payment Product On Messenger


Facebook is currently staging beta test for its own payment product in India, as per media reports. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company’s payment product is an independent play and will compete with WhatsApp UPI.


With its standalone payment product, the social networking giant is eyeing to create a complete ecosystem through Messenger, Marketplace, Facebook, and payment.

What will the app offer?

Facebook has launched a beta version of messenger where select users can recharge mobile phones and other prepaid services including DTH and broadband amongst others. Reports claim that it is to offer peer-to-peer and peer-to-merchant payments.

Facebook had also launched C2C Marketplace majorly for used goods in India in November 2017. It will integrate the payment product with ‘Marketplace’. Importantly, Facebook also introduced a feature that enables merchants to showcase their offerings and entice customers to transact through messenger.

The California-based company has a user base of about 250 million in India. The huge user base in the country gives it an advantage over others to experiment with an array of products and features.

WhatsApp not far behind

Simultaneously, Facebook-owned instant messenger platform WhatsApp UPI payment is currently under beta testing and soon to be opened for its 250 million user base. It’s expected to disrupt the UPI-powered payment ecosystem when it would get open for all.

The WhatsApp UPI service has been receiving a lot of criticism from its to-be rival Paytm about its privacy and data security laws.

The freeware platform has been under scanner since its beta launch of UPI as it was not following the rules imposed for other existing players in this space. However, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) had clarified that WhatsApp UPI is in beta phase and it has to follow the strict rules in compliance with customers’ security and country’s rules on data and privacy.

The digital payments scenario in India

Digital payment is the country is experiencing a huge rise like never before. Expert opinions say that India’s digital payments industry would grow to $500 Bn by 2020, contributing to 15% of the country’s GDP. India’s vast smartphone user base which is now the second largest in the world is a major reason behind that.

Although, initially digital payments did not make much headway. But post demonetisation, the industry saw an uplift with a slew of online payment systems evolving.

Some of the major digital payment modes are Online or mobile wallets, Prepaid credit cards, Debit/RuPay cards, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data based mobile banking, United Payments Interface (UPI), Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app, etc.

Google Tez, Paytm, PhonePe and Freecharge are the major players in UPI ecosystem. Off late, the global digital payments giant, PayPal is keen to work towards dominating the Indian market

With Facebook joining this ever-growing market, it would be interesting to watch what major changes would take place.

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