WhatsApp Payment is a new service that enables businesses and individuals to transfer money via WhatsApp using an in-chat payment feature. This is the latest money transfer feature from Meta and was created with the aim of facilitating quick and easy transactions without users having to leave the app or open a separate payment app.
For businesses and individuals, the WhatsApp Payments service facilitates digital payments that are fast, cost-effective (or free) and secure. WhatsApp Payment (AKA WhatsApp Pay) is currently only available on a large scale in Brazil, India and Singapore, but is likely to expand to other countries in the future.
What Exactly Are WhatsApp Payments?
WhatsApp payments are electronic transfers that are made between the linked bank accounts of people who are connected through the WhatsApp app. The major benefit of this service is that it allows people to send money, request money and receive money electronically without the hassle of entering or asking for bank account or credit card details.
The Status of WhatsApp Payments Around the World in 2023
- India. WhatsApp Pay was launched in India in 2020 using the country’s Unified Payment Interface network; it has now spread to over 100 million users after authorisation by the National Payments Corporation of India.
- Brazil. After it was initially introduced—and suspended—in 2020, WhatsApp Pay was enabled for peer-to-peer transactions in Brazil in 2021. In-chat WhatsApp business payments were enabled in Brazil in April 2023. In Brazil, WhatsApp payments work via Facebook Pay with the help of the Cielo, Mercado Pago and Rede processing networks.
- Singapore. The service launched in Singapore in 2023 in partnership with Stripe. It is expected to become available to a larger number of Singapore-based businesses in the coming months.
- United States and Guatemala. At the end of 2021, WhatsApp Payment was rolled out to a small number of users in the USA and Guatemala in conjunction with the digital wallet Novi. However, the feature is not yet widely available.
As it stands, transactions between individuals are free in the three countries where the system operates. In Brazil, business transactions are subject to transaction fees, which are paid for by the business.
Transfers are often completed in seconds in India. It can take up to two days to receive the funds from an approved WhatsApp payment in Brazil. Transfer times for Singapore are not yet available.
The transaction limits for WhatsApp payments vary by country.
WhatsApp users in India can send up to Rs. 1 lakh (€1,127) per transaction (and per day) and can complete up to 20 transactions per day.
WhatsApp users in Brazil can send up to R$1000 per transaction (€189), complete 20 transactions per day and send or receive R$5000 (€921) per month.
WhatsApp transactions in Singapore are not currently subject to transfer limits.
What Are the Advantages of WhatsApp Pay?
WhatsApp Pay offers several benefits for businesses:
- Convenience. WhatsApp Pay is a great option for people and businesses who want to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to search for a website or app or go to a store and pay in person.
- Security. WhatsApp Pay uses end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication, which guarantees secure payments.
- No additional charges for peer-to-peer payments. You can send and receive peer-to-peer payments for free.
- Instant approval. Similar to payment by text, transactions through WhatsApp chat are approved instantly (although you might not receive the funds for a day or two).
- Easy to use. WhatsApp Pay is easy and quick to set up. Once the app is updated, this feature should appear automatically, making it both accessible and intuitive.
What Are the Disadvantages of WhatsApp Pay?
- Limited availability. It is only available in a handful of countries at present.
- Transaction limits. WhatsApp Pay might not be the best option for businesses in India or Brazil that need to process large or frequent transactions.
- Scams. The ease of use of WhatsApp Pay has made it a target for scammers, especially in Singapore where there are no transaction limits.
WhatsApp Payment: How to Get Set Up
To get started, you’ll need a debit or credit card from a participating card brand, a WhatsApp Business Account and a supported bank account. In Brazil, you’ll need a tax identification number to use WhatsApp Pay.
While the process varies slightly by country, there are three main ways to enable WhatsApp payments:
- Enable WhatsApp payments yourself.
- Do it through your bank.
- Receive a setup invitation link from a contact.
1. Enable WhatsApp Payment Yourself
Firstly, update your WhatsApp Business App to the latest version. It’s important that the number you use for WhatsApp is the same as the number linked to your bank account. When this is completed, follow the instructions to set up payments on your phone.
2. Enable WhatsApp Payment Through Your Regular Bank
Occasionally, the Payment option doesn’t appear after updating the Business App. If this is the case, your regular bank’s app or customer service team should be able to guide you through the process (if it is a participating bank).
3. Receive a WhatsApp Payment Invitation from a Contact
If one of your contacts already uses WhatsApp Pay, ask them to send you a payment or payment request which doubles as an invitation to activate WhatsApp Pay on your mobile.
What Happens After Making a Payment?
After making a payment through WhatsApp, the transaction status will read as Completed, In Process or Failed; you will be able to see the status in the chat. You can view your transaction history in the Settings tab in the WhatsApp Business app. If a transaction fails for whatever reason, you will receive the money back within 24 hours.
Things to Take Into Account When Using WhatsApp Payments in Your Business
Though WhatsApp payments provide an easy and convenient solution for merchants, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Businesses using WhatsApp Pay still need a payment processor and a secure global payment gateway for processing other payment methods like credit and debit cards. If possible, look for a payment processor that can aggregate all of your transaction data in real-time so that you don’t have to spend hours compiling transaction data from different sources.
- Merchant services are still a vital part of an all-in-one payment solution for e-commerce businesses. As a business owner, you need access to tools like recurring billing, loyalty program integration and omnichannel fraud detection algorithms to help your business fulfil its full potential, regardless of the payment methods you offer and use.
- WhatsApp payments should be seen as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, other popular payment methods like cards, cash and bank transfers. For various reasons, some of your customers may not be able to (or prefer not to) pay using WhatsApp, and providing options helps to ensure that you capture every potential sale.
WhatsApp Payment: A Great Solution for Businesses in Eligible Countries When Used in Conjunction with a Payment Service Provider
WhatsApp Pay can be a valuable addition for local businesses as it provides a fast, cheap and convenient way to send and receive payments. Offering this option is also attractive for customers as it provides a quick and convenient way to pay.
Though WhatsApp Pay on its own can bring some benefits, businesses benefit most when it’s used in conjunction with a payment processor that offers the full range of merchant services and a wide variety of payment methods. That way, you’ll be able to track all of your transactions (including WhatsApp transactions) centrally and offer different payment options in different countries and currencies.