WhatsApp announces Digital Payments Utsav for 500 villages in India

WhatsApp announces Digital Payments Utsav for 500 villages in India

WhatsApp’s Digital Payments Utsav is a pilot program that promotes digital payments to empower individuals and businesses and is meant as a project to further the cause of financial inclusion.

WhatsApp recently added the rupee symbol by the chat box for easier access to digital payments WhatsApp recently added the rupee symbol by the chat box for easier access to digital payments

At the Fuel For India 2021 event WhatsApp announced the Digital Payments Utsav - a pilot program that is going to adopt 500 villages in Karnataka and Maharashtra in an effort to “accelerate financial inclusion”. The aim is to empower villagers with access to digital payments via the ‘payments on WhatsApp’.

This new pilot program is an intervention of sorts for the “new-to-digital” users and Digital Payments Utsav hopes to bring about a “behavioral transformation to digital payments at the grassroots”.

“At WhatsApp we are committed to help accelerate financial inclusion in the country. We have started this pilot program in 500 villages across Karnataka and Maharashtra as part of our mission to onboard the next 500 million to the digital payments ecosystem. We believe that WhatsApp’s ease of use and reliability can promote the adoption of UPI with users across, including those at the bottom of the pyramid,” said Abhijit Bose, Head of India, WhatsApp.

“We will continue to contribute meaningfully in this journey of educating users at the grassroots, so they can trust digital payments, as they gradually make the transition from a ‘cash-only’ way of financial life,” he added.

Digital Payments Utsav took off on October 15 this year in the Kyathanahalli village in Mandya district of Karnataka. Here on-ground facilitators helped familiarise villagers with various aspects of digital payments including how to sign up for UPI, set up a UPI account, and also told them about the best practices to be safe while using digital payments online.

WhatsApp says that the initial results of its pilot program have been encouraging and that villagers have begun adopting WhatsApp payments as the new mode of transactions. The company also shared the testimonials of some of the participants of the digital program.

“Withdrawing money from banks in villages used to be tedious and time consuming and ATMs also don’t usually have cash. Things have become much easier because of payments on WhatsApp,” said Chidananda KJ, Gram Panchayat Member of Kyathanahalli village.

Anil K.R. who is a poultry shop owner, said that when people don’t want to come all the way to his shop, they send him their lists and drop location on WhatsApp. He then delivers these orders and gets paid on the same app.

“I’ve been running my beauty parlor for the past 10 years. Old customers prefer to pay by cash. I don’t have my own UPI-ID. So, when new customers want to pay digitally, I give them my son’s WhatsApp QR code,” said Shruthi K, a beauty salon owner.  

WhatsApp’s pilot program is being executed on-ground by WhatsApp’s implementation partner, 1Bridge.

Adding to its drive to democratise digital access, WhatsApp recently placed the Indian rupee symbol right next to the chat composer box making it easier for people to recognise and use it to make digital payments on the app. WhatsApp has also updated its main camera to scan QR codes.

Also Read: Jio is betting on WhatsApp to ramp up grocery biz

Also Read: Some iPhone users are having hard time accessing WhatsApp due to a bug