We knew that Facebook-owned WhatsApp would eventually launch digital payments within the app. But most of us probably expected it to be in India since they have been testing it there for months. But now the official announcement is that users in Brazil will be the first to enjoy paying for their purchases from local businesses and sending money to their loved ones. Their digital payments system is enabled by Facebook Pay from their mother company but in partnership with local banks of course.
If you’re in Brazil, the first step would be to link your credit or debit card (Visa or Mastercard) to your WhatsApp account. At launch, their local partners include Banco de Brasil, Nuband, and Sicredi, with payments processor Cielo working on completing the transactions. The payments are enabled by Facebook Pay and they also mentioned that they will eventually be available across the various Facebook apps, which may be good news or bad news, depending on how you feel about Facebook itself.
To authorize transactions, you will need to enter the special six-digit pin or you use your fingerprint biometrics. Using your digital payment whether it is to send money or to make a purchase will not have a transaction fee for people. But businesses will have to pay a 3.99% processing fee to be able to receive payments from customers but WhatsApp says this is just similar to what they already pay for credit card transactions anyway.
WhatsApp has actually been pretty good for small businesses with the WhatsApp Business platform. They have been using this to communicate with customers and posting their catalog, as well as links to their products. Having the ability to pay from within the app will make it even easier for both consumers and businesses as well. Those using ads on Facebook are also able to create links to the WhatsApp accounts.
We don’t know why they decided on Brazil for the pilot for WhatsApp digital payments instead of India, but the feature is now out of the bag. They are rolling it out now to all users and maybe soon they can add more countries to this list.