BENGALURU:AXIS Bank is set to become one of the first in the country to begin full processing of payments through UPI-based Whatsapp Payments, which arrived in India early in February and is currently in beta mode.The Whatsapp Payments feature will allow WhatsApp users to send and receive money from within the app, as it looks to take on Paytm, Mobikwik and other payments services. Industry estimates peg the number of Indians on the Whatsapp platform to be close to 250 million.
Axis Bank’s executive director for retail banking, Rajiv Anand, said that the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system holds a huge opportunity for the banking sector.Axis Bank is not alone in getting on board Whatsapp Payments. Most major banks in India have announced partnerships or their intention to partner with various UPI-based payments systems. For example, Google Tez has been up and running for a few months and works in partnership with four Banks — Axis Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, and State Bank of India — to facilitate the processing of payments across the UPI-enabled banks. Axis’ partnership with Whatsapp is expected to be along similar lines and will become operational soon.
“We are in the process of integration for Whatsapp... (it) is currently running the beta version. But, the full version… we are hoping... will come within the next month or two,” Anand noted, adding that the bank was also working with other partners like Google, Uber, Ola and Samsung Pay to create a payments ecosystem for customers.
The scramble to get on to UPI-based payments systems is being primarily driven by the potential for growth seen in the segment and, according to Axis Bank, they have already become market leaders with a 20 per cent market share in the UPI space.