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WhatsApp will now offer insurance and loans to some Indian users

WhatsApp has plans to provide financial services including the insurance and pensions to the low wage workers.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | July 23, 2020 | Updated 10:49 IST
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WhatsApp has joined hands with Indian banks to bring banking services to the rural areas in India

Highlights

  • WhatsApp has joined hands with Indian banks to bring banking services to the rural areas in India.
  • WhatsApp also has plans to provide financial services including the insurance and pensions to the low wage workers.
  • The Facebook-owned messaging app has partnered with banks including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank.

WhatsApp has joined hands with Indian banks to bring banking services to the rural areas in India. WhatsApp also has plans to provide financial services including the insurance and pensions to the low wage workers. The Facebook-owned messaging app has partnered with banks including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank.

"We now want to open up with more banks over this coming year to help simplify and expand banking services, especially to the rural and lower-income segments we also aim to expand our experiments with partners for other products that RBI highlighted as basic financial services, starting with micro pensions and insurance," Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp India Head, said at Fintech fest.

The collaboration with banks would let customers communicate with their banks via automated texts. Users can register their WhatsApp numbers with their banks and can even check their balance, deductions, and more through the messaging app.

WhatsApp also plans to make financial services including micro-credit, pensions, and insurance available to low wage workers in rural areas."Our collective aim over the next two to three years should be to help low-wage workers and the unorganised, informal economy easily accesses three products - insurance, micro-credit, and pensions," Bose said.

Notably, Facebook entered India's digital payments in 2018 when it made the WhatsApp payments services available to select users in India. But it couldn't plan an official roll out in the country due to pending approvals from the authorities. Several reports claimed that The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has reportedly granted its permission to WhatsApp to formally start its payments services in India albeit in a phased manner.

However, WhatsApp did launch its Payments services in Brazil but the services were suspended a week after it was announced. Brazil's central bank had said in a statement that it took the decision to "preserve an adequate competitive environment, ensuring an interoperable, fast, secure, transparent, open and economical payment system." The bank had also raised privacy concerns regarding WhatsApp's digital payment services. They also claimed that the bank didn't get the opportunity to analyze WhatsApp's services before it was officially rolled out.

WhatsApp Pay is a payment service offered by Facebook, it lets users send and receive payments, pay bills, make recharges on the platform, and other services similar to how Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, and others function. India already has a quite a lot of digital payments platforms but considering WhatsApp has a user base of 400 million in India, it wouldn't be so difficult for the messaging app to secure a place for itself in the digital payments market whenever Facebook decides to roll out the services in India.

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