Facebook on Monday added a digital payments feature to its WhatsApp messaging service. The payment service is starting in Brazil but is expected to expand around the world.

The users of the App in Brazil can use the encrypted mobile messaging service to send money or purchase items, Facebook said in a blog post. This development marks the first time that payments platform used at the leading social network was woven into WhatsApp.


The feature will allow users to send money or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat, Facebook noted.

“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,” Facebook said.

The choice to send or make payments through the WhatsApp platform will be upon the users, but businesses will be charged a processing fee on par with those charged for typically credit card transactions, they clarified.

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for at $19 billion and only was this a contraction in the growing OTT segment. The purchase raised many questions and many wondered how Mark Zuckerberg and his team was going to achieve return on investment (ROI) for a platform which was not making money.

There have been numerous efforts to commercialise the messaging service that have been quashed. Privacy concerns blocked merging whatsapp datasets with the core Facebook platform but there have been some successes.

WhatsApp has met its biggest promise over past few years which was to give users a digital payment platform.

“Today we’re starting to launch payments for people using WhatsApp in Brazil. We’re making sending and receiving money as easy as sharing photos. We’re also enabling small businesses to make sales right within WhatsApp.” said Facebook C.E.O Mark Zuckerberg.


Facebook C.E.O Mark Zuckerberg. [P/Courtesy]

The details of the digital payments model will become clearer with time but Facebook has promised that this is a very useful route for the team to take. Digital payments are increasingly getting popular in all markets around the world. Again, this is a business model which has incredible potential in the regions which lack ubiquitous, traditional banking infrastructure and sorts.

Research shows that 77% of people used one or more types of mobile payments in 2019, with 91% of millennials, 80% of Generation X and 64% of Baby Boomers making use of the technology. This development therefore puts WhatsApp in the direction the society is headed as the influence of convenience takes hold.

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