It seems like the time is now ripe for WhatsApp’s expansion in India. Mere days after announcing its partnership with Reliance Jio and launching JioMart on its messaging platform, the company is now said to be working on a new online lending product for India.
Yeah, you heard that right. After the UPI-based WhatsApp Pay service, the company is looking to step foot into another financial sector in India. As per documents filed with a local regulator, sourced from business intelligence platform Tofler, WhatsApp lists credit (money lending) as one of the operational objectives that it intends to pursue in India.
“To advance money or give credit on such terms as may seem expedient, and with or without security, to customers and others,” says the regulatory filing in regards to the credit service. WhatsApp is ‘seriously’ looking to offer credit services, as per industry sources. Nothing else is revealed by the filing but we can expect the messaging giant already to be in talks with banks about partnerships in this regard.
If you weren’t already aware, WhatsApp is also inching close to a wider rollout of its payments platform – WhatsApp Pay in India. The messaging platform is expected to receive the much-awaited green signal to widely launch WhatsApp Pay next month. After a pilot program almost two years ago, WhatsApp has been testing its payments service with close to 1 million users for a long time now.
If WhatsApp Pay is to go live next month, then the platform needs to achieve 100% data-localisation compliance in the coming weeks. This means we will have another UPI-backed payments platform – a competitor to PhonePe, Google Pay, and Paytm amongst us in the coming weeks. It could pave the way for WhatsApp to offer small loans to merchants on WhatsApp, possibly those onboarded via the JioMart deal, to help expand their business.
The digital payments and financial services sector in India is at a very nascent stage at the moment and WhatsApp does not want to miss out on this golden opportunity. The company now even has the support of Reliance Jio to better understand and expand its reach to newer avenues.