Thursday, 08 March 2018 23:28

Digital payments disruption coming to India via WhatsApp

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Everyone wants to disrupt digital payments, with Facebook-owned WhatsApp's recent launch of its beta peer-to-peer digital payments service in India no exception, according to tech analysts GlobalData.

GlobalData says the entry of WhatsApp, which has "more than 200 million monthly active users, is expected to disrupt the unified payments interface (UPI)-based digital payments landscape in India, currently dominated by Paytm

Reportedly, Facebook is working "with top lenders, including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank, to integrate the UPI-based payments solution".

Prarthna Tiga, Senior Technology Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “E-payments in India are already witnessing unprecedented growth since the government's announcement of demonetisation in late 2016.

"Now with the foray of WhatsApp, the country’s smaller and struggling e-payments companies fear a unique threat in an already crowded and competitive ecosystem.”

GlobaData tells us that "the Indian payments marketspace is already swarmed with over 60 non-banking players such as Paytm, MobiKwik, Amazon Pay and Flipkart (PhonePe). Established players such as Paytm are also feeling the push and fear that their position will be challenged with the entry of WhatsApp payments".

While the messaging platform is the latest entrant, GlobalDaya says "Google launched its payment app, Tez, in September 2016. It is creating fervour in the digital payments landscape, with transactions surpassing the likes of Axis Bank, one of the top digital players among banks.

"However, it is interesting to note that even though India’s e-payments market is expected to grow in the coming years, most e-wallet operators are not profitable in India yet. In fact, some who have been issued licenses by the Reserve Bank of India are still evaluating the situation before setting up operations."

GlobalData's Tiga concluded: “We expect consolidations to be the force in the next few years, with the bigger players focusing on opportunities to expand their footprint in India and other markets. In the meantime, smaller e-payments players are tapping into unidentified opportunities to stay relevant in the market.

“Therefore, creating a compelling case for people to use digital money is becoming absolutely necessary for smaller players, while bigger players are taking advantage of their wide user base.”

Here's GlobaData's infographic, a full resolution version can also be seen here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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