We’ve often discussed WhatsApp’s dark mode for some time now given how long it took the company to bring it to users. Another long-awaited WhatsApp feature is the ability to make payments through WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned company’s new payments platform is called WhatsApp Pay. It has reportedly received a regulatory nod in the country. That means possibly by the end of 2020 or early next year you’ll be able to pay using WhatsApp.
According to what an RBI executive told Business Standard, “The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has granted WhatsApp permission to operate its digital payment service in a phased manner.” This comes only days after the WhatsApp payments platform received a go-ahead from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Payments via WhatsApp Pay
WhatsApp had already received approval to test its payments platform with one million users in India back in 2018. Referring to it, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “when so many of the people kept using it week after week, we knew it was going to be big when we get to launch.”
WhatsApp now wants to test payments with 10 million users initially before the full rollout. Given that WhatsApp already has 400 million users in India, it will be the biggest payment platform, at least theoretically, when the service rolls out. That means it shouldn’t be hard for the company to convince businesses to join in either.
For now, WhatsApp Pay will be an India only feature. It would be safe to assume that it will slowly roll out to other countries as well.
How secure will WhatsApp Pay be?
Well, the company has seemingly assured the NCPI and RBI that WhatsApp Pay will comply with India’s data localization laws. And these laws require companies to store all payment related user data in local servers inside the country. However, neither WhatsApp nor its parent company Facebook has the best track record when it comes to safeguarding user data.
When Jeff Bezos’ iPhone was hacked, it was due to a WhatsApp bug. That’s the most recent example, but there have been plenty of similar bugs in the app before. And Facebook, remember Cambridge Analytica? That was the one case that did get highlighted but the company has been in tough waters plenty of times.
Considering all of that, it’s obvious to question how secure will this WhatsApp payments platform be? Can we really trust WhatsApp Pay with our financial details?