The social messenger payment feature is experiencing a slow rollout. Even popular products like online entertainment and daily mobile services are yet to be enabled for purchase. Despite its huge customer base and retail payment potential, WhatsApp is delaying merchant acquisition and holds off on a full-scale financial product offer.
WhatsApp Pay’s Indian Market Share Fails to Meet Expectations
WhatsApp Pay processed a mere 0.02 percent of total transaction volume and just 0.01 percent of total value over the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in March 2021. Months after the messaging app’s payment feature went live for 20 million users, its performance abruptly contradicts early predictions for an explosive take-up and a significant market share. Indeed, the figures seem quite unbecoming for the Facebook-owned internet giant with its more than 400 million-strong user base on the Subcontinent.
Payment Methods are Crucial for Online Casino Gamers
ENV Media’s CEO, Mattias Bergehed, addressed the importance of payments among key consumer acquisition aspects during a topical presentation at SEOCon Indonesia where he discussed industry insights related to online casino affiliate sites like SevenJackpots.
Several payment-related factors influence user decisions regarding the final choice of a site, app or a game. Users need to feel safe about personal and financial data they put in. Players at all levels feel it is important that what they spend does not get exchanged into other currencies or converted in any way so they lose out on fees and exchange rates. Payment methods, inevitably, must appear and operate in the most user-friendly manner so as not to “scare” away customers with complicated functions or steps.
Casino Merchants not Imminent on Payment Feature, For Now
Despite the fact that all Indian online casinos featured on SevenJackpots casinos such as PureWin offer multiple payment options, WhatsApp Pay is currently not available for use on any of them. This will likely change in the future when the messaging service company starts its merchant acquisition campaign and enables actual peer-to-merchant payments. For now, only peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions are processed by the system.
According to WhatsApp inside sources, the company is not in a hurry to push its market share up. They see it as a long-term effort and want to make sure the payment interface is simple and easy to use providing a smooth customer experience.
Being a relatively new member of the dynamic online payments ecosystem in India, WhatsApp can only learn from its own recent Brazilian experience. Just days after the launch of the payment service, the Central Bank of Brazil banned WhatsApp Pay due to “regulatory uncertainties”, naturally making the company wary in its next steps.
Desi Regulators Worried about Potential Monopoly Risks
In November 2020, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), as the main regulatory association governing the Indian retail payment systems, gave its approval for WhatsApp Pay to join the UPI system. However, the total number of users allowed to use the payment feature was limited to 20 million at the time. This is less than 5 percent of the social messenger’s entire user base in India and was announced as an initial phase.
On the same day, after said approval was issued, the NPCI announced a cap of 30 percent to the market share of each third-party UPI operator. Providers such as PhonePe or Google Pay that exceed this limit, nevertheless, were given time until 2023 to bring their market share down. As a newcomer, WhatsApp had to comply from January 1, 2021.
The regulatory moves reflect the fears of a possible market monopoly held by the nation’s Reserve Bank (RBI). In the case of WhatsApp Pay, with its barely noticeable presence within the mainstream UPI payment ecosystem, such fears are hardly realistic for the time being.