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WhatsApp set to add P2P payments to messaging app

By Alex Rolfe

WhatsApp is rumoured to be preparing P2P payments for its messaging app, making it the latest service to let users transfer money to one another with a text.A beta version of WhatsApp’s next update revealed the service could soon support payments. Pictures emerged of a “Welcome to WhatsApp Payments” screen, which was discovered by the blog WABetaInfo.

WhatsApp, which has more than a billion users, is trialing “immediate bank to bank transfer with UPI”. UPI, or Unified Payments Interface, is a payments system run by the Reserve Bank of India, which appears to confirm reports that the payments service would be coming to India first.

It is not clear when WhatsApp P2P payments might be made available in the UK.

An initial release in India, where WhatsApp has been recruiting local payment app experts, would give around 200 million users the ability to transfer money through the app.

WhatsApp refused to comment on its future plans for WhatsApp Payments, but said: “India is an important country for WhatsApp, and we’re understanding how we can contribute more to the vision of Digital India. We’re exploring how we might work with companies that share this vision and continuing to listen closely to feedback from our users.”

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has offered P2P payments on its stand alone Messenger app since 2015. Apple has also been working on its own P2P payments for its iMessage app, which it is expected to launch with iOS 11

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