WhatsApp’s delayed digital payment system in India is moving closer to a start, as it addresses privacy concerns before becoming the latest entrant in a market projected to hit $1 trillion by 2023.

WhatsApp Pay was delayed in April as the company dealt with the Indian government’s demand that the system’s data be stored only in India. Bloomberg News reported that the company has wrapped up an audit of data practices, and that the system was in test mode since early 2018. 

The introduction of WhatsApp will head up a market currently led by PayTM and global leaders like Amazon Pay.

  • “If Indian regulators allow WhatsApp into their financial system, it will definitely be a challenge for PayTM and the others,” said Aaron McPherson, vice president for research operations at Mercator Advisory Group, an advisor for banking and payments industries.  
  • “It will take time for WhatsApp to get businesses on board. But being the social media leader will help them take the lead in digital payments as well,” McPherson said.
  • While Amazon announced its Pay UPI for Android customers in April, and PayTM leads the mobile payment industry in the country with 230 million users, WhatsApp enters with advantages they don’t have — the Facebook unit may take the top spot since India forwards the most WhatsApp messages, photos, and videos in the world. 
  • Karma Takeaway:  WhatsApp enters the second most populated country with the ability to leverage its social network and grab customers from bigger rivals.