According tomedia reports, users in Brazil can now use WhatsApp to pay, allowing them to transfer money to friends and family within WhatsApp chats, or pay when buying items from supported retailers. These transactions are protected by a six-digit password or fingerprint and are free for the user. Only businesses are required to pay commissions, similar to the cost of credit card transactions. WhatsApp users must link a valid debit or credit card to their profile to enable the feature, which is made via Facebook Pay.
It is no secret that Facebook has a bold plan to use the power of blockchain to deliver near-instant cross-border transactions that radically change the way remittances are sent. But Facebook’s cryptocurrencies have faced considerable resistance from regulators, and it will take some time before the payment system is up and running.
Until then, Facebook will offer users a different way to transfer money to their contacts and even pay for goods online. With the support of Facebook Pay, WhatsApp now has its own digital payment system.
WhatsApp is Facebook’s most expensive bet to date, costing $19 billion. However, WhatsApp is also one of the world’s most popular chat apps, supporting more than 2 billion people across platforms. WhatsApp, Facebook’s only chat app that supports end-to-end encryption, will be integrated into the company’s future universal chat system, which will include Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
WhatsApp has piloted payment services in India, but the first market to go into operation will be Brazil. WhatsApp said in a statement that users in Brazil will be able to send payments directly to local businesses from the app. The feature will also support transfers to family and friends.
Transfers between individual users will be free, and payment of goods will be subject to a fee paid by the business. These fees will be similar to those paid when accepting credit card transactions. The transactions are protected by a six-digit PIN or fingerprint, but are not face recognition, the report said.
Initially, the feature will support Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards issued by Bank of Brazil, Nubank and Sicredi. Brazil’s largest payment service provider, Cielo Prize, processes payments.
The feature is currently only available in Brazil. WhatsApp has a page that offers a demo of the new payment feature. Once Facebook clears the regulatory hurdle, the feature is likely to be rolled out in other markets, but the company has yet to reveal any other markets. Facebook Pay may be used in the future to support payments for the unified chat system the company is developing.