WhatsApp Payments-What is it and How to use it

Published: November 9, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Last Updated on November 9, 2020 at 12:37 pm

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has now permitted WhatsApp to launch its payments service in India in a graded manner. In this article, we look at the features of WhatsApp Payments facility.

About the author: Anjesh Bharatiya is a 30+ taxman by profession and a Chemical Engineer by education. He has been an investor in the stock market since age 15! He likes to write about personal finance, stock markets, government policies, taxation, philosophy and football. Also, by Anjesh: (1) Want to trade in stocks? Here is how your income will be taxed(2) How to use Tax benefits on HRA and home loans (3) How to get tax benefits under a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)(4) Payment of difference bet compound interest & simple interest in loan accounts: Will you benefit?

Introduction and background:  A large number of players have already jumped on to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) bandwagon and launched their payment solutions based on the UPI platform. PhonePe and Google Pay are the leaders in the segment, followed by Paytm and Amazon Pay. In February 2018, WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) also launched its own UPI based peer-to-peer (p2p) payments platform ‘WhatsApp Payments’ to select users in India under a pilot run. Having garnered close to a million users, the company was gearing up for a full-fledged launch.

However, following the Israeli spyware Pegasus hacking incident, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in November 2019, told the Supreme Court that WhatsApp is non-compliant with data localization norms and directed the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI-which manages UPI) not to allow a full-scale launch of the payments service. However, now the RBI has finally given the go-ahead to WhatsApp for a full-fledged launch of its payment services. Although WhatsApp has close to 400 million users in India, WhatsApp pay will initially be rolled out to 20 million users. You can update your app and click on the three dots on the top right-hand corner to see if the Payments option appears. WhatsApp has initially partnered with five Indian banks – ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank- for the service. More banks are expected to be on-boarded soon. To send or receive money in India, it is necessary to have a bank account and debit card in the country. You would also need an active 4-digit UPI pin. So let us see how you can use WhatsApp to send & receive payments.

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Getting started

First, we need to update WhatsApp to version ( or above. This particular version is now in beta and not yet available on the play store. Once available and installed, click on the three dots on the top right-hand corner and click the payments option. Add your bank account by going to the “Add payment method” option. A list of banks is displayed, and you have to click on your bank.  Ensure that your WhatsApp mobile number and the mobile number registered with your bank is the same. If not, either change your WhatsApp number or get your mobile number changed in your bank account so that you have the same mobile number on WhatsApp & Bank account. Then, accept the terms and conditions and WhatsApp will verify your mobile number.

Once, your mobile number is verified by WhatsApp Payments platform, a list of bank accounts linked to your mobile number will automatically show up. Choose your preferred bank account and enter the required details of your debit card to create a Virtual Payee Address (VPA). All UPI based payment platforms have a similar activation process. UPI supports all major banks.

Sending money with WhatsApp Payments

Sending money through WhatsApp is as easy as sending an image to your friend. However, your friend (recipient) also needs to have activated the Payments feature on his/her WhatsApp as detailed above. If a contact does not have the feature activated yet, you can notify him about the feature like this:

Open a chat with the contact > Tap the attachment icon > Tap payment > On the next screen, tap Notify. To send money, start a chat and tap the attachment button to see the Payments option. Now follow the steps, which include entering the amount, a note to the recipient (if you want) and your UPI pin to complete the transaction. You can also send money to anyone in a group chat similarly. In March 2019, WhatsApp also introduced QR code for the payments service. Each WhatsApp Pay user has a unique QR code which other users can scan and send money.

Receiving money through WhatsApp Payments

The recipient doesn’t need to do anything. However, he must have the Payments feature on his WhatsApp to receive money. One money is received; the recipient will also get a message in the chat window.

Pros & Cons of WhatsApp Payments


  • The feature is easier to use than standard UPI based platforms as there is no need to enter the VPA details of the recipient.
  • You can send money to anyone in your contact list provided he/she has the WhatsApp Payments feature on his/her phone. 
  • No other UPI platform integrates payments with a chat feature.
  • The recipient gets payment confirmation in the chat window itself.
  • There are no charges for using the service.


  • You can make a maximum of 10 transactions in a day with a maximum limit of Rs 1 lakh a day as per UPI rules.
  • User’s mobile number registered with the bank and WhatsApp should be the same. 
  • The biggest potential issue is safety & privacy. As mentioned above, after the Israeli Pegasus software targeted WhatsApp accounts of various people, there is a question mark on the privacy of your bank details and your financial transactions if you use WhatsApp Payments. And since WhatsApp has, as of yet, not been able to ensure that all payments related data is stored safely in India, there is also a fear of your payments information being accessed by foreign companies or Governments. WhatsApp’s parent Facebook also has a notoriously shaky record when it comes to privacy. In a recent breach, the personal data of 267 million Facebook users was leaked online in December 2019.

In Summary: WhatsApp Payments is the most convenient and easiest to use UPI based payments platform available right now. Other UPI based platforms will have some serious catching up to do when WhatsApp Payments is launched for all its users since WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users globally, of which India alone accounts for about 400 million users. Thus, no other payments related company has the reach that WhatsApp has. However, an eye has to be kept out for WhatsApp’s compliance with various data localization and security norms mandated by the RBI.

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