By Adedapo Adesanya
WhatsApp has announced that its users in Brazil would be the first to be able to send and receive money by way of its messaging app, using Facebook Pay.
The Facebook-owned messaging service has over the past few months made efforts to tap into the payment service before finally making a breakthrough in Brazil.
In a blog post published on Monday, the messaging service said the payments service will work by way of a six-digit PIN or fingerprint to complete transactions.
The service is currently free for consumers to use, that is, no commission fee taken but on the other hand, businesses pay a processing fee to receive payments.
According to WhatsApp, users can make use of it by linking up WhatsApp account to a credit or debit card, with initial local partners including Banco do Brasil, Nubank, and Sicredi. Cielo, a payments processor, is also working with WhatsApp to complete transactions.
“We have built an open model to welcome more partners in the future,” it noted.
The company has been testing this payments service among users in India for months. Many had assumed that the world’s second largest internet market would be the debut region for the service.
But due to Facebook’s regulatory challenges in India, it has prevented it from expanding the payments service beyond a small, limited launch, in its biggest market.
WhatsApp had been adopted informally for commercial purposes almost from the very start: small business owners have used it to exchange messages with users around the sale of goods, what is in stock and so on.
WhatsApp Business lets small businesses post catalogues and stock links within the app; advertisers on Facebook also can create links through to their WhatsApp accounts.
But with the payments service, WhatsApp, which has amassed over 2 billion users and is finally taking a more commercial approach, giving people not just a place to chat about a product, or even send payment details, but to transact.
“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,” the company said.
Users in Brazil will be able to use the payments service on WhatsApp to make purchases from local businesses without leaving their chat, the Facebook-owned service said.
“The over 10 million small and micro businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil’s communities. It’s become second nature to send a zap to a business to get questions answered. Now in addition to viewing a store’s catalog, customers will be able to send payments for products as well,” the company wrote in a blog post.
It is, however, not clear if WhatsApp will be launching the services across other regions where other forms of payments are still catching on.
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