WhatsApp is apparently trying to pursue digital money lending in India. The instant messaging company, owned by Facebook, said: “to offer customers without further protection or to customers and to others, such as offering upfront funds or giving credit on such terms”. As one of the areas it wants to find out, the filing ministry earlier this month
As of this time more granular details such as the nature of the loan are scarce, although just because WhatsApp wants to enter India’s loan market, it does not mean that it will happen soon. WhatsApp has been testing its UPI-based payment service in India since at least 2018, and it is still awaiting regulatory approval from authorities for a full commercial launch. WhatsApp has more than 400 million users in India, but, only 1 million of them are estimated to have access to its peer-to-peer transaction service.
Be that as it may, since WhatsApp is barred by law from doing banking business, it will have to partner with existing banks to provide loans in India.
There is no doubt that WhatsApp wants to expand in India, it is the largest market in the world. And there is no doubt that it wants to explore the ways in which it can monetize here. It has been trying to do this through the WhatsApp business for some time, though it is yet to roll out advertisements on the platform – something that it is working on – that will help make more money from the service.
The parent company Facebook recently invested $ 5.9 billion in Reliance Jio and as part of the partnership, JioMart has started selling groceries through WhatsApp. Although the scope and reach of this partnership are “limited” for some areas of Mumbai, it is expected to expand soon. According to several reports, Jio wants to enter India’s digital lending platform, so it will be interesting to see if all this is related to the discovery of WhatsApp.
There has been a growing influx of digital money lending services in India of late. Not just established players, even smartphone brands like Xiaomi and Realme have joined the bandwagon with Mi Credit and Realme Paysa respectively.
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