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WhatsApp sheds beta tag for payment service, ties up with two more banks

WhatsApp sheds beta tag for payment service, ties up with two more banks
Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Instant messaging platform WhatsApp has partnered with private-sector lenders HDFC Bank and Axis Bank to launch its payment services and has also dropped the beta tag for the new offering.

The Facebook Inc.-owned company has updated its privacy policy for payment services in India on its website and there’s no mention of the term ‘beta’, hinting at a full launch soon.

However, the launch of WhatsApp Payments is still some time away as the government has reportedly told the company to first set up a local office and hire a team in India.

The government informed WhatsApp of these preconditions last month when a team of company executives met with officials of the Ministry of Electronics and IT, The Economic Times reported on Wednesday, citing a ministry official it didn’t name.

WhatsApp had rolled out a beta, or test, version of the payment service in India in February. It had earlier tied up only with ICICI Bank for the service.

WhatsApp’s payment service will be based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). According to WhatsApp’s updated policy, a user of HDFC Bank or Axis Bank UPI facility should have his/her mobile number registered with the respective bank and should have existing relationship with the bank for availing this service.

The statement has also listed out the terms and conditions imposed by banks on customers for availing such services.

WhatsApp intended to launch its payments services in India earlier this year but the plan got delayed after the Reserve Bank of India said in April that payments data need to be stored in the country

Meanwhile, WhatsApp rolled out a new feature to allow group voice and video calls to its users. The new feature will allow users to make a group call with up to four people at a time. The service will be available on WhatsApp's Android and iPhone versions.

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