Even though WhatsApp still awaits full rollout of its Payments service in India, the Facebook-owned company is already eyeing other markets. As a part of his remarks during Facebook’s Q4 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the company will roll out Payments on WhatsApp in select other markets. this year He didn’t share any specifics about the upcoming rollout, but these are likely to be the markets where WhatsApp is incredibly popular and is likely to see quick adoption. This isn’t the first Zuckerberg has hinted at the expansion of WhatsApp Payments outside India. He had toed a similar line in the company’s second quarter earnings call last year.
“Messaging is the area that’s growing the most quickly, and this year people are going to feel these apps becoming the center of their social experience in more ways. We’ll roll out payments on WhatsApp in some more countries. Private sharing in groups and stories will become more central to the experience. We’ll roll out payments on WhatsApp in some more countries,” Zuckerberg said, indicating the payments feature would roll out this year to more countries.
WhatsApp Payments was first introduced in India in February last year, first in the beta version of its Android and iOS apps, later in the stable version. The feature itself still remains in beta and hasn’t been rolled out to all users of the chat app in the country because of the regulatory hurdles. Reserve Bank of India hasn’t given its nod to the company to open the floodgates. Even though we are inching closer to the one-year mark of the service’s debut, its future in India remains uncertain. Hopefully Facebook has learnt some lessons from this experience.
There is currently no word on which markets are next to receive WhatsApp Payments, however some of the likely candidates are Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, Malaysia, and Brazil, given these are some of the chat app’s biggest markets. It is also unclear what WhatsApp will be using as the back-end for the Payments service in other markets as in India the company uses India-exclusive UPI.
In other titbits from Facebook’s Q4 earnings, the combined active monthly user base of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram has crossed 2.7 billion. During the call, Zuckerberg also noted that the unified WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger platform won’t be coming at least until 2020.